Find unknown trackers - Android Help (2024)

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.

Find unknown trackers - Android Help (1)

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, 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.

Find unknown trackers - Android Help (2)

Find unknown trackers - Android Help (3)Find unknown trackers - Android Help (4)

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 Find unknown trackers - Android Help (5) Unknown tracker alerts.
  3. In the middle of the screen, tap the tracker alerts button.

Tip: Alerts are deleted after 48 hours.

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 Find unknown trackers - Android Help (6) Unknown tracker alerts Find unknown trackers - Android Help (7) 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 Find unknown trackers - Android Help (8) 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 Find unknown trackers - Android Help (9) Personal safety Find unknown trackers - Android Help (10) 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.

  • On Android 11 and up: Manual scanning doesn’t require the phone's Location setting to be on. Check and update your Android version.
  • On Android 10 and lower: Manual scanning uses your phone’s Location setting and Bluetooth. There are several ways you can control which apps and services can access your location.

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

  • Choose which apps use your Android phone’s location
  • Delete, disable and manage unused apps on Android
  • Get help during an emergency with your Android phone

Need more help?

Try these next steps:

Post to the help community Get answers from community members
Find unknown trackers - Android Help (2024)

FAQs

How to find an unknown tracker? ›

To do so, open Settings > Safety & emergency > Unknown tracker alerts, then tap the "Scan now" button to initiate the scan. If an AirTag is found, you'll see this screen.

What is the unknown tracker alert on my Android phone? ›

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.

How do I detect a tracking device on my Android? ›

Yes, there are many apps that can detect if a GPS tracker has been installed on your cell phone. If you have an Android phone you can download Certo Mobile Security for free from the Play Store and quickly scan your phone for GPS tracking apps and other malware.

How to find hidden GPS trackers? ›

If you don't notice anything obvious, use your flashlight and mirror to check under the seats, under and behind the dash, inside and behind the glove compartment, and in the center console. Trackers can also be hidden in seat pockets, between seats, behind sun visors, and elsewhere.

Is there an app to detect trackers? ›

AirGuard adds this layer of protection so you can feel safe in your daily-life. With the scan option, you can always scan your surroundings and discover hidden trackers. You can search for a specific tracker and it tells you how close you get to it.

How to know if someone is tracking your phone without you knowing? ›

10 Signs to Tell If Your Phone Is Being Tracked
  • Unknown Apps Installed on Your Phone. ...
  • Your Phone Gets Overheated. ...
  • Higher Data Usage. ...
  • Increased Battery Consumption. ...
  • Your Phone Is Jailbroken or Rooted. ...
  • Sudden Performance Deterioration. ...
  • Unusual and Peculiar Permission Requests. ...
  • Unusual Noise During Calls.

Can someone track my Android without me knowing? ›

Can someone spy on your phone without you knowing? Yes, if they had physical access to your phone and installed monitoring software.

How do I block trackers on Android? ›

Turn "Do Not Track" on or off
  1. On your Android device, open Chrome .
  2. To the right of the address bar, tap More. Settings.
  3. Tap Privacy and security.
  4. Tap Send a "Do Not Track" request. Tip: If you are part of the Tracking Protection test group, follow the “Tracking Protection” instructions.
  5. Turn the setting on or off.

What is the code to check if someone is tracking your phone? ›

Code to check if phone is tapped: *#21# Code to show unknown connections and tracking (for Android): *#*#4636#*#* or *#*#197328640#*#* Code to show unknown connections and if someone is tracing you (for iPhone): *3001#12345#* Code to find your phone if lost or stolen (for Android): *#*#1472365#*#*

What is the unknown alert on my Android phone? ›

What is an Unknown tracker alert? An Unknown tracker alert is sent when someone else's tracker device is separated from them and your Android phone detects that the tracker is travelling with you and out of Bluetooth range from the owner.

How do I stop someone from tracking my Android? ›

How to stop your phone from being tracked: detailed list
  1. Use VPN with an ad blocker. ...
  2. Use antivirus software. ...
  3. Do not use public Wi-Fi. ...
  4. Disable automatic Wi-Fi connections. ...
  5. Turn off GPS. ...
  6. Turn off Bluetooth. ...
  7. Use airplane mode. ...
  8. Keep your phone updated.
Dec 12, 2023

How do you know if someone is tracking your location on Android? ›

Location History: Go through your phone settings to find your location history. See if there are any weird spots it says you've been to. Suspicious Gadgets: Give your ride a once-over. Look for any odd devices that could be GPS trackers, especially underneath the car.

How do I stop hidden trackers? ›

Use an anti-tracking extension in your preferred browser
  1. Block trackers on websites and non-private search engines.
  2. Block annoying ads on websites and non-private search engines.
  3. Block cookie consent pop-ups - learn more about our new feature Never-Consent here.
  4. Prevent online profiling.

How do I block a GPS tracker? ›

The user plugs the jammer into the automotive auxiliary power outlet. The unit is placed close to the installed GPS tracker. When active, the GPS jammer generates an interference signal over a 5 to 10 meter radius to disrupt reception of the GPS satellite signal.

How can I tell if an AirTag is tracking me? ›

If an AirTag that's separated from its owner is seen moving with you over time, or if your iPhone is awake and an AirTag that isn't with its owner for a period of time emits a sound to indicate that it has moved, this alert is displayed: AirTag Found Moving With You.

How to find out if you have a tracking device in your body? ›

The best way to check for an implant would be to have an X-ray performed. RFID transponders have metal antennas that would show up in an X-ray. You could also look for a scar on the skin. Because the needle used to inject the transponder under the skin would be quite large, it would leave a small but noticeable scar.

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