Google Find My Device Network vs Apple’s Network

Google is rolling out its Find My Device network, emphasizing privacy by encrypting location data and imposing restrictions on tracking in private locations such as homes.

Kapish Khajuria
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Is Google Find My Device

Google is rolling out its Find My Device network, emphasizing privacy by encrypting location data and imposing restrictions on tracking in private locations such as homes. Android users are given control over their level of participation in the network, with options to select aggregated location reporting, non-aggregated reporting, or complete deactivation.


This initiative by Google has been meticulously developed to meet high standards of privacy and security. Extensive research was conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the project, addressing underlying standard issues without requiring subsequent updates.

Does Google find my device as good as Apple’s?

Comparisons between Google's Find My Device and Apple's equivalent service naturally arise. Both systems function similarly, utilizing nearby Bluetooth signals from compatible devices to estimate the location of lost items. For instance, if one loses their keys with a Bluetooth tracker attached in a café, nearby Android phones within the network assist in locating the approximate position of the tracker.


How does it work?

To safeguard privacy and security, Google encrypts location data end-to-end, restricting access solely to intended recipients. Only the owner and individuals with shared access can view the tracker's location. Furthermore, Google cannot identify the owners of Android devices participating in the network during tracker or device location attempts. Location data is regularly cleared and overwritten to enhance privacy. Importantly, if an owner's device is near their tracker, no additional devices are employed to locate it.

Despite its privacy-centric approach, Google's system has trade-offs. By default, the network only locates trackers when multiple Android devices are nearby. This measure aims to prevent tracking in private locations but may hinder recovery in scenarios like losing keys while hiking or when a thief takes them to a remote location.


Upon adding a home location to their Google account, users' devices are not utilized to track nearby devices belonging to others. This prevents potential stalking scenarios where an individual might place a tracker in someone else's possession to identify their home. In such instances, Google sends an alert to the owner regarding the presence of an unknown tracker, providing notification of possible intrusion.

Users retain control over their contribution to the Find My Device network. While all Android devices are set to contribute to aggregated location reporting by default, users can opt into non-aggregated reporting or disable the network entirely.

Google Find your phone work even when your network is offline?

With the launch of the Find My Device network, locating a phone without a mobile connection or Wi-Fi becomes feasible. Utilizing Bluetooth technology, devices can be located with the assistance of nearby connected devices. Moreover, specialized Pixel hardware enables Pixel 8 and 8 Pro owners to locate their devices even when powered off or with a dead battery, without necessitating a new Android version.

Compatible with Android 9 and higher, the new Find My Device system extends its compatibility beyond Bluetooth trackers. Collaborations with accessory manufacturers such as JBL and Sony facilitate the tracking of compatible devices through software updates.