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.

What are Bluetooth trackers?

Bluetooth trackers, also called tags, are small devices that you can attach to items, like keys or a backpack, to help you locate them if they get lost.

However, in some cases, these devices can be misused to track others without their knowledge or consent.

What’s an unknown tracker alert?

An unknown tracker alert is sent when someone else’s tracker device is separated from them and detected to be 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 alerts if you borrow an item with a tracker on it or if you have traveled with someone who has a tracker on one of their possessions.
  • You can’t stop a tracker’s ability to share its location when you turn on airplane mode or turn off Bluetooth or location services on your phone. Learn how to turn off a tracker.
Compatible Trackers
Unknown tracker alerts currently work with Apple AirTags. We will be updating this section as we work with tag manufacturers to expand this important protection to other trackers.
Find a tracker when you receive a notification
  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.
    • Important: The owner won’t be notified if you play the sound.
  4. Follow the sound made by the tracker to locate it.
  5. If you find the tracker, tap Next steps.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions.

Example of an unknown tracker map

Example of tracker tag details

If you can’t play or hear the sound

  1. Tap Play sound again.
  2. If you don’t hear the sound, move around your location and tap Play sound again.
    • Check your belongings and surroundings for anywhere the device may be hidden.
    • If there’s still no sound, the tag may no longer be in range or the device ID may have changed.
  3. 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.
  4. You can take screenshots of the unknown tracker alert and the map of the tag locations for later reference.
Get information about the tracker

Once you find the tracker, you can get its information and save it.

  1. You can take a screenshot of the unknown tracker alert and map of the tracker locations for later reference.
  2. Bring the tracker near the back side of your phone. Available information comes up on your phone screen.
    • Tip: You may have to wait a moment for the tracker information to come up on your screen.
  3. You can take a screenshot of the serial number if available, or additional information about the tracker’s owner.
    • Some trackers have the serial number physically printed on them.

If the tracker has been marked as lost by its owner, contact information for the owner may show on your screen.

Disable the tracker

Important:

  • Some trackers, if disabled, may be factory reset and no longer link 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 the tracker was 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, search for the product manufacturer below for step-by-step instructions:

Tip: You may be able to work with your local law enforcement to learn more about the tracker you found. To support an investigation, law enforcement may ask you for the tracker, the device’s serial number, or other information.

If you can’t find the tracker

If you can’t find the tracker, it may still be near you or on one of your items or possessions.

  • Retrace your steps and check things that were with you when you got the alert. For example, check around and within your car, backpack, or any other items you had with you.
  • Run a manual scan to find trackers nearby.
  • You may get another alert for the same tracker on multiple days if it is traveling with you but not owned by you.
Find previous tracker alerts
  1. On your device, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Safety & Emergency and then Unknown tracker alerts.
  3. On the middle of the screen, tap the tracker alerts icons.

Find nearby trackers & turn off tracker alerts

Manually scan for nearby trackers

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.
  3. Tap Scan now.
    • Your device takes about 10 seconds to complete a manual scan.

Important:

  • Manual scans detect trackers that are near you and separated from their owner’s device. It’s possible that the trackers found in a manual scan are misplaced or temporarily out of Bluetooth range from their owner’s device.
  • Manual scan results aren’t saved.

If you don’t get an alert for a tracker

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 are notified automatically if the system determines that an unknown tracker is traveling with you.

Turn unknown tracker alerts on or off

Unknown tracker alerts are turned on by default. You can turn unknown tracker alerts on or off whenever you want.

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

On Android 12 (S) and later:

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

On Android 11 (R) and before:

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

Your data & unknown tracker alerts

Android location settings privacy

If you turn off your location, you won’t get automated alerts.

If you turn off unknown tracker alerts, you can still run a manual scan to detect nearby trackers. On Android 11 (R) and earlier, manual scan uses your phone’s Location setting and Bluetooth. On Android 12 (S), manual scan does not require the phone’s Location setting to be on. Learn how to check and update your Android version.

How unknown tracker alerts use your location information

The unknown tracker alert system uses your device’s location to identify where the unknown tracker has traveled with you. When you receive an unknown tracker alert, you can check where the tracker was detected with you on a map.

The unknown tracker alert system processes and temporarily stores this location information encrypted on your device. It only uses this location information to determine if there’s a tracker traveling with you and to display it to you on a map. This location information doesn’t leave your device and isn’t shared with Google or other users.

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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