You might think that the Apple AirTag is only compatible with Apple-made devices. Well, that is not entirely correct. You can use and find an AirTag with your Android phone if the AirTag is in Lost Mode or not connected to its owner’s device. Let me show you how this all works.
How to detect an AirTag tracking you on Android
Apple has released an app on the Google Play Store for Android phones called Tracker Detect, which gives Android owners the ability to scan for nearby AirTags and other Find My-compatible devices that may be tracking you without your knowledge.
The Tracker Detect app is free to download from the Google Play Store and does not require an Apple ID account to use. It is compatible with Android devices running Android 6.0 or later.
Apple released the Tracker Detect app in response to concerns that AirTags could be used to secretly track people as they are small enough to be discretely placed in a bag, coat or vehicle.
If you have an Android phone, you can’t take full advantage of the AirTag features because you don’t have Apple’s Find My app. However, this still gives you a limited amount of capabilities.
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Using the Tracker Detect app allows you to see any nearby trackers. (CyberGuy.com)
Ways to use the Tracker Detect app
If you suspect that someone might be using an AirTag to track your location, you can open the app and tap on Scan for Trackers. The app will show you any trackers that are nearby and not paired with your phone.
It’s important to note that the Tracker Detect app does not automatically scan for trackers like an AirTag. You have to prompt it to do so, as mentioned above. This means that you need to be aware of the possibility of being tracked by someone else’s device and use the app to check for it.
If you receive a notification from the Tracker Detect app that an unknown tracker is moving with you, you can tap on it and choose to play a sound on the tracker to help you locate it.
If you find an AirTag that does not belong to you, you can use the Tracker Detect app to scan it. If the owner has marked the AirTag as lost and provided a phone number or email address, you can use that info to contact them and return the tracker.
If you can’t reach the owner or think the tracker was used maliciously, you can disable it by removing the battery.
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Apple AirTags can be detected by the Tracker Detect app. (CyberGuy.com)
How to scan an AirTag on an Android using the Tracker Detect app
- Open the Tracker Detect app and tap on Scan for Trackers
- The app will show you any trackers that are nearby and not paired with your phone
- If you find an AirTag that does not belong to you on the Tracker Detect app, you can tap on it and choose to play a sound on the tracker after it has been near you for 10 minutes to help you locate it.
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Woman using an Apple AirTag with her Android phone. (CyberGuy.com)
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Downside of Tracker Detect app
The Tracker Detect app will only detect trackers that are compatible with Apple’s Find My Network, such as Airtags. It will not detect other brands of trackers, such as Tile or Samsung.
You can’t use the Tracker Detect app to set up or pair an AirTag with your Android device or to track an AirTag that is still connected to its owner’s device. For those features, you need an Apple device and the Find My app.
The Tracker Detect app also does not provide precise location guidance like the Find My app does on iPhones.
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Google’s “Unknown tracker alerts” warns you of unwanted AirTags
Google also began rolling out a feature in July called “Unknown tracker alerts” for Android phones that can alert you if there is an AirTag nearby that is not yours. It works automatically on Android 6.0 and up. You don’t need to download any app or scan anything. If your phone detects an AirTag that is separated from its owner, it will show you a notification. You can tap on it to see more details, like where the AirTag was seen with you and how to make it beep so you can find it. You can also learn how to disable it.
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Google alerts you of unknown trackers. (CyberGuy.com)
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Best AirTag alternatives for Android users
If you want to use a tracker similar to the AirTag with your Android phone, you can consider some alternatives, such as the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag or the Tile Mate. These trackers use Bluetooth, and some also have ultra-wideband technology to help you locate your items. They also have their own apps that are compatible with Android devices you can download from the Google Play Store or the Samsung Galaxy Store.
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Kurt’s key takeaways
Although you cannot set up an AirTag on your Android, I think it’s still helpful for you to know how to detect, find, and disable an AirTag that is in Lost Mode or not connected to its owner’s device.
However, you will need the Tracker Detect app from Apple, which has some limitations compared to the Find My app on iPhones.
If you want a more compatible and versatile tracker for your Android phone, you might want to consider other options, such as the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag or the Tile Mate. These trackers offer similar features to the AirTag, yet with more Android-friendly apps and functions.
What are your thoughts on the Tracker Detect app and the AirTag compatibility with Android devices? Do you think Apple should make the AirTag more accessible to Android users or keep it exclusive to its own ecosystem? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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