From www.androidauthority.com

Google Find my Device connected devices

Damien Wilde / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Android 15’s new Powered Off Finder API could allow select devices to be tracked even when switched off.
  • This API will allow devices with compatible hardware to continue sending Bluetooth beacons after the Android system is shut down.
  • The Google Pixel 9 series could likely come with this feature.

In the big Android vs iOS debate, iPhones do get a slight advantage with a Find My feature that allows your iPhone to be tracked even when switched off. This feature debuted with iOS 15 and is available on iPhone 11 and newer. Samsung Galaxy phones have an offline finding feature through SmartThings Find, but that’s not a perfect equivalent as it doesn’t work if the phone is switched off. Google could be looking to change that with Android 15 by granting the platform the ability to locate phones when they are switched off and not merely disconnected from the internet.

According to a report from Android Police, Android 15 is coming with a new Powered Off Finder API that will allow compatible devices to be tracked even when they are switched off. This is said to likely include the Google Pixel 9 series as well.

Mishaal Rahman has previously shared some details on some of the features that this API could enable. Powered Off Finder API would allow devices to continue sending Bluetooth beacons after the Android system is shut down. This will make it possible to locate devices when they’re powered off or out of battery. The fine print to the battery requirement is that you’d still need some reserve power to fire those beacons from the Bluetooth chip, but this may be a small reserve that may not be enough for the complete Android system to function.

We presume that you would also need hardware support to keep the Bluetooth chip enabled after the phone is switched off, which is why this would need a compatible phone.

Mishaal says that UI support for Powered Off Finder was added in Android 14 QPR 1, while Google Play Services is also said to have been preparing for this feature over the last few months. Google Play Services will use this Powered Off Finder API to send precomputed “Finder Network” keys to the device’s Bluetooth chip so it can continue broadcasting to other nearby devices on Android’s upgraded Find My Device network.

Note that this feature would seemingly rely on the upgraded Find My Device network, which was announced back at Google I/O 2023 but hasn’t rolled out yet. Apple continues to be the roadblock for its rollout, as the company has not yet incorporated the unwanted tracker alert specification into iOS and iPhones. So even though Android 15 is expected to bring the API, and the Pixel 9 series could include the rest of the hardware needed, we would still need the upgraded Find My Device network rolled out widely for the feature to work in a functionally helpful manner.

Another report in the past from 91Mobiles suggested that the feature would be called Pixel Power-off Finder on Google Pixel phones. The report suggested similar functionality as “Finder Network” keys but also mentioned optional support for UWB technology (within the context of Android’s Find My Network). The report is from last year, and Google has since gone on to announce the upgraded Find My Network, so we’re not entirely sure about the part that UWB has to play within this API.

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The post Android 15 will allow the Pixel 9’s location to be tracked even when it’s switched off first appeared on www.androidauthority.com

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