Find My Device could be a huge free Android upgrade next week

Google's Find My Device network goes live next week, and the rollout has already begun

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(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

The official launch of Google's Find My Device network is 8 April 2024 – or at least, that's what Google is emailing some Android users to tell them. As 9to5Google reports, some Android users  received official Google emails on Thursday promising that "you'll get a notification on your Android devices when this feature is turned on in 3 days".

This is a really big upgrade, because the Find My Device network will use the power of Android's massive user base to help you locate lost or misplaced Android phones, earbuds and Tile-style trackers. It's been a year in the making because Google has been working with Apple to ensure that there isn't a repeat of the privacy worries that we saw around Apple's AirTags: the goal of Find My is to ensure that you can find your stuff without having to worry about malicious use of trackers by other people.

Apple added malicious tracking protection in iOS 17.5, and it seems that that was the last obstacle Google wanted fixed before launch.

Doesn't Google already have a Find My Device app?

It does, but this new network is different and much more useful. The existing app just knows the last known location; it can deliver real time tracking worldwide and will work with a wider range of products including all kinds of location trackers: think AirTags for Android. Devices such as headphones that aren't already compatible just need a small software update.

I'm a big fan of Find My, which I use on my Apple devices: it's proved really useful for finding my kids' endlessly misplaced earbuds and helping me overcome my apparent inability to remember where I left my bag, my car keys or my dog. 

According to 9to5google, "all of the settings began appearing for those who enrolled in the Google Play Services beta" earlier this week, although the features weren't yet live. When they do go live you can expect to be given two choices: "Locate with the Find My Device network" and "opt out of the network". If you go for the latter option your devices won't use the new feature, although you'll still be able to locate your device if it's turned on and online. If you want to completely disable Find My tracking you can do that in Settings > Google > All Services.

It's worth noting that using the Find My Device network applies to your account, not to an individual device – so you won't need to set permissions across multiple bits of kit, or opt out repeatedly if you don't want to use the service at all.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (