Google’s Find My Device for Android could soon match Apple’s Find My app

In June 2021, a report said that Google wanted to improve the capabilities of the Find My Device feature putting it on par with Apple’s Find My network. The latter can track lost or stolen iPhone units, iPad tablets, Macs, and AirTag trackers even when they’re out of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth range. Heck, the Find My network will find these devices even if they are turned off!

Soon Android devices around the world will be able to network to help find lost or stolen Android or Wear OS devices

Google’s Find My Device only tracks phones that are signed in to your Google account. The platform also cannot help others recover their lost or stolen devices. However, Google’s work to expand the capabilities of the Find My Device feature continues. Google release notes for the December 2022 Play Store Update (via android police) add the following entry: “Find My Device now supports encrypted last known location reports for Android devices, using a new privacy-focused framework.”

This could indicate that Google is working to enable Find My Device to track Android devices that are lost or stolen, even without an internet connection. With an updated Find My Device network, the location services of other Android devices can help find the missing handsets of other Android users. Since the information would be encrypted, only the owner of the “discovered” device would know where it is located. This network can also be used to locate missing or stolen Wear OS devices.
With over 3 billion Android devices floating around the world, a Find My Device network could cover a lot of ground. If this sounds familiar, this is how Apple’s Find My Network works, Apple itself says: “The Find My Network is an encrypted anonymous network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your device or item.” It’s the large number of active Apple devices and the encryption that make the Find My network work.
There is no official announcement about how to upgrade Find My Device and we have no idea when the feature will launch. This would be a big deal for Android users and should merit some sort of announcement from the company.

App archiving now automatically archives certain apps when an Android phone’s storage space is low

The December Play Store update also adds support allowing Android users in some states to place a digital copy of their driver’s license in their Google Wallets. In addition, Google started rolling out app archiving for Android phones at the end of November. This feature allows users to delete an app to free up space on their phone, but the app data can still be saved on these devices. As a result, when the app is reinstalled, users will have the same exact experience as before they uninstalled the app.

And this month’s update takes that feature and works with it. Now when a phone is low on storage space, certain apps will automatically be archived. This is good news for those with cheap Android handsets with a limited amount of native storage. This feature appears on v33.5 of the Google Play Store, which was pushed last Monday.

To see what version of Google’s Android app storefront your phone is running, open the Play Store app and tap the profile picture on the right side of the search bar at the top of the screen. In the menu you are directed to, press Institutions > As regards and you will see the Play Store version at the bottom of the screen. You will also see a green link that says “Update Play Store”. Tap it and the Play Store will be updated, or you’ll see a message that your phone already has the latest version of the software.

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