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

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

Android devices around the world could soon form a network to help find lost or stolen Android or Wear OS devices

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

This may indicate that Google is working to allow Find My Device to track lost or stolen Android devices even without an internet connection. With an updated Find My Device network, location services from other Android devices can help locate other missing Android phones. Since the information would be encrypted, only the owner of the “discovered” device would know where it is. This network can also be used to help locate lost or stolen Wear OS devices.
With over 3 billion Android devices circulating around the world, a Find My Device network can 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 anonymous encrypted network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your device or item.” It’s the sheer number of active Apple devices and the encryption that makes the Find My network work.
There has been no official announcement regarding the Find My Device upgrade, 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 Archive will now automatically archive certain apps when an Android phone’s storage is low

The Play Store’s December update also adds support allowing Android users in some states to put a digital copy of their driver’s license in their Google Wallets. In addition, at the end of November Google began to open the archive of applications for Android phones. This feature allows users to uninstall an app to free up space on their phones, but still allows the app’s data to be stored on these devices. As a result, when the app is reinstalled, users will have the same experience with it that they had before they uninstalled it.

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And this month’s update takes that feature and runs with it. Now, if a phone is low on storage space, it will automatically archive some apps. This is good news for those with budget Android devices that have a limited amount of local storage. This feature appears in version 33.5 of the Google Play Store, which was rolled out last Monday.

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To see which version of Google’s Android app store your phone is running, open the Play Store app and tap your profile picture on the right side of the search bar at the top of the screen. From the menu you are sent to, press SETTINGS > circle and you will see the Play Store version near the bottom of the screen. You’ll also see a green link that says “Update Play Store.” Tap on it and the Play Store will update, or you’ll see a message saying your phone already has the latest software version.


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