Android 15's Find My Device could let you find your Pixel 8 when it's turned off

Google's alternative to Apple's Find My network may be unveiled with the Pixel 9, but it's likely coming to older phones too.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
The screen on the Mint Pixel 8.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

If you've ever tried finding a lost Android phone, you may have been frustrated by Google's equivalent to Apple's Find My network. If your phone is powered on and connected to Wi-Fi, Google's Find My Device works, but if your phone is off, you're out of luck.

Fortunately, that may soon be a thing of the past.

In 2023, Google announced Find My Device – a Bluetooth-powered opt-in location tracking network for Android devices that works just like Apple's version. When controversy over unwanted tracking via devices like AirTags arose, however, Google shelved the feature.

While nothing official has been announced yet, a report from Android Police indicates that feature may launch with the Pixel 9. And even better, it may be coming to older Pixel devices too.

Also: How to enable Find My Device on your Android phone (and why you should)

When Android devices are powered off, the Bluetooth turns off as well, meaning a device can't be located by Find My Device or help find other devices. An upcoming Powered Off Finding feature would let the device store beacons in the Bluetooth controller's memory. That way, even if the device isn't turned on, it can still see and be seen by other devices.

Poking around some Android system APIs, Android Police noticed that such a system was beginning to appear, but only for devices running "Vanilla Ice Cream," or Google's internal name for Android 15.

Here's where things get interesting for current Pixel generation users. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro both have system code that mentions "ro.bluetooth.finder.supported." No other Pixel phones, not even the Fold, have similar language.

It makes a lot of sense for Google to unveil this new network along with the Pixel 9, but given that the Pixel 8 series has this code, some older phones may be included too.

The Pixel 9 should launch later this year.

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