Find unknown trackers

You can identify, find, and remove trackers that have been placed near you or in your belongings without your knowledge or consent with the help of unknown tracker alerts.

What are trackers?

A tracker, also called a tag, is a small bluetooth device you can attach to items like keys or a backpack to help you find them when they get lost.

In some cases, these devices may be misused to track people without their consent.

What does an unknown tracker alert mean?

An unknown tracker alert is sent when someone else’s tracker device is separated from them and if your Android phone detects the tracker is traveling with you and out of Bluetooth range from the owner. The notification alerts you to the tracker and tells you how to find it and what to do next.

Example of an unknown tracker alert

Tips:

  • You may get these notifications if you borrow an item or if you are traveling with someone who has a tracker with them.
  • You can’t stop a tracker’s ability to share its location by turning on airplane mode or turning off Bluetooth or location services on your phone. Learn how to turn off a tracker.
Compatible Trackers
Unknown trackers alerts currently work with Find My Device network compatible tags and Apple AirTags.

What to do if you get an unknown tracker alert

Important: If you turn off Bluetooth or location services, or turn on Airplane Mode, your phone won’t prevent the owner of the tracker or device from finding the location of the tracker. To disable the tracker, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

  1. On your device, tap the tracker notification to open a map.
  2. Find where the tracker has been detected traveling with you.
  3. Tap Play sound, which causes the tracker to make a sound.
    • You won’t notify the owner if you play the sound.
  4. To locate the tracker, follow the sound.
  5. If you find the tracker, tap Next steps.
  6. After you find the tracker you may:
    • Go to a safe public location and contact law enforcement or a trusted contact if you feel that your safety is at risk.
    • Get and save the tracker’s info.
    • Disable the tracker. Learn how to turn off a tracker.
You’ve got an unknown tracker alert

If you get a notification on your Android phone or tablet, a tracker that’s not yours could be moving with you.

It’s possible that the tracker is attached or in something you’re borrowing, such as keys or a backpack.

To learn more about the tracker, such as the type of device and name of the manufacturer, tap the notification.

When you tap the notification, it’ll show you a map where the tracker was detected moving with you.

  • You won't find where the owner of the tracker checked its location.
Play sound to find an unknown tracker

If you get an alert, to help you locate the tracker you can have it play a sound by tapping Play sound.

If you still can’t find the device, to make the tracker play a sound again by tapping Play sound.

Tip: You won’t notify the owner of the tracker if you’ve played the sound.

If you can’t play or hear a sound

If you’re unable to play a sound or can’t hear the sound, try to move around and tap Play sound. It’s possible that the tracker is no longer in range or the device ID has changed.

If you can't play a sound but believe the tracker is near you, look through your belongings. Search yourself and your surroundings for anywhere the device may be hidden. This could be in places you don’t commonly look like in a pocket, your bag, or your car.

If you can't find the device and feel your safety is at risk, go to a safe public location and contact law enforcement or a trusted contact.

You can take screenshots of the unknown tracker alert and the map of the tracker locations for later reference.

What to do if you find a tracker

To get the list of actions you can take, tap Next Steps.

There may be different instructions for different trackers including saving information to help report and disable the device.

Get information about the tracker

Once you find the tracker, you may want to save its information.

  1. You may want to take a screenshot of the unknown tracker alert and map of the tracker locations.
  2. For Airtags, to learn more information about the tracker, bring the tracker near the back side of your phone.
    • You may have to wait a moment for the tracker information to come up on your screen.
    • Some devices may share their serial number or additional information about the owner of the device. Other devices also have the serial number printed physically on the Bluetooth tracker.
    • You may want to take a screenshot of the serial number or owner information
  3. For Find My Device network compatible tags, to learn more about the tracker, follow the on-screen instructions.
    • Once all the identification instructions are completed, you’ll be able to find the device identifier and hidden email address of the owner.
    • You may want to take a screenshot of the device identifier or owner information.
    • If you’re unable to find the instructions to reveal owner information, follow the identification instructions on the manufacturer's website.
Disable the tracker

Important:

  • Some trackers, if disabled, may be factory reset and no longer linked to their original owner. Law enforcement may not be able to get additional information about these trackers, like who owns the tracker.
  • Physically disabling the device will stop the owner from receiving future location updates from the tracker, but they may still be able to check the last location from when the tracker was still enabled.
    • Depending on your situation, you can disable the tracker to stop any tracking or keep it enabled if you are concerned that disabling it could be unsafe.
    • To disable the tracker, find the product manufacturer below for step-by-step instructions:
Product Where to get help
Apple Airtag Disable an AirTag
  • You may be able to work with your local law enforcement to learn more about the tracker you've found. To support an investigation, law enforcement may ask you for the tracker, the device’s identifier, or other information.
If you can’t find the tracker

If you can’t find the device, it may still be near you or on your belongings.

  • If it’s safe to do so, retrace your steps and check belongings you had on the route shown on the alert, like in your car or backpack.
  • Run a manual scan to find trackers nearby.
  • If the tracker is still detected with you the next day, you may receive another alert.
Find previous tracker alerts

If you want to see alerts that you’ve previously received:

  1. On your device, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Safety & Emergency and then Unknown tracker alerts.
  3. In the middle of the screen, tap the tracker alerts button.

Check for trackers near you

Run a manual scan

You can check for trackers that are separated from their owners and currently near you at any time.

  1. On your device, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Safety & Emergency and then Unknown tracker alerts and then Scan now.
    • Your device takes about 10 seconds to complete a manual scan.
Which trackers show up in manual scan

You can detect trackers that are currently near you and separated from their owner’s device with manual scan. It’s possible that the trackers found in a manual scan are simply misplaced or temporarily separated from their owner’s device.

If you’ve turned on Unknown tracker alerts, you’ll get a notification automatically if the system determines that an unknown tracker is moving with you.

Didn’t get an alert for a tracker in a manual scan

Trackers that appear in a manual scan are currently near you, but may not have been traveling with you.

If you have alerts turned on, you’ll be notified automatically if the system determines that an unknown tracker is moving with you.

How your phone got the update

To keep your Android phone safe, it regularly gets updates in the background. During an update, Play Services adds the unknown tracker alert system and you automatically get notifications about an unknown tracker.

If you would like to opt out, you can do so any time.

Turn off unknown tracker alerts

Important: If you turn off unknown tracker alerts, previous alerts will be cleared and any information about other unknown trackers will be deleted. This data can’t be recovered.

If your Android device is Android 12 (S) and up:

  1. On your device, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Safety & emergency and then Unknown tracker alerts.
  3. Turn Allow alerts off.

If your Android device is Android 11 (R) and lower:

  1. On your device, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Google and then Personal safety and then Unknown tracker alerts.
  3. Turn off alerts.

Your data & privacy

What data we use

To determine how an unknown tracker has traveled with you, unknown tracker alerts use your location information and timestamps of when your device detected the tracker, and a device ID for the tracker. When you receive an unknown tracker alert, you’ll also find the places that the tracker was detected with you on a map.

This information is processed and temporarily stored in an encrypted format, never leaving your device, to determine if there’s a tracker following you and displaying it to you on a map. It’s not shared with Google or other users.

Android location settings privacy

To get automated alerts for unknown trackers traveling with you, you must have your Location turned on.

If you turn off your Location, to find trackers that are near you at the moment, you can still use the manual scanning feature.

Troubleshoot problems with unknown trackers

Why can’t I ring a tracker after I get an alert?

You may not be able to ring the tracker if:

  • The tracker owner is nearby
  • The tracker was very recently separated from its owner
  • The tracker is out of your Android phone’s Bluetooth range or no longer with you
  • The tracker device ID has changed
What does it mean if the tracker’s device ID has changed?

Each Bluetooth tracker has a random ID associated with it that changes periodically. If the tracker isn’t near its owner, it may change less frequently, such as once per day.

When the tracker changes its random ID, it's no longer identified as the same tracker, and your Android device will display it as a new tracker in future scans or alerts.

Why didn’t I get the alert sooner?

Unknown tracker alerts consider multiple factors when sending an alert. To improve alert accuracy, you need to physically move with the tracker over time before receiving an alert.

Why didn’t I receive more than one alert?
The system is currently built so you only will receive one alert, per tracker, each day. If you’re still concerned that a tracker is with you, run a manual scan to find nearby trackers.
Why didn’t my manual scan detect nearby trackers?
To show trackers in the manual scan feature, they must be separated from their owners physically. Running multiple manual scans may improve the accuracy of the nearby trackers detected.

Additional support resources

If you’re concerned about your safety, these resources may help:

Related resources

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