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In June 2021, a report said that Google has been trying to improve the capabilities of its Find My Device feature, bringing it to the same level as Apple’s Find My network. The latter can track lost or stolen iPhones, iPad tablets, Macs, and AirTags even if they’re out of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth range. Well, Find My Network will find these devices even if they are turned off.

Android devices around the world could soon form a network to help find lost or stolen Android or Wear OS devices

Google’s Find My Device only tracks phones that are signed in to your Google Account. The platform also cannot help others locate their lost or stolen devices. However, Google’s work to expand the capabilities of its Find My Device feature continues. Google’s release notes for the December 2022 Play Store update (via Android Police) includes the following note: “Find My Device now supports encrypted last-known location reports for Android devices using a new privacy-based framework.”

This may indicate that Google is working to allow Find My Device to track lost or stolen Android devices even without an Internet connection. Find My Device’s updated network location services for other Android devices can help locate other Android users’ missing phones. Since the information will be encrypted, only the owner of the “discovered” device would know where it is. This network can also be used to locate missing or damaged Wear OS devices.
With over 3 billion Android devices floating around the world, the Find My Device network can cover a lot of ground. If this sounds familiar, this is how Apple’s Find My network works, Apple says. “Find My Network is an encrypted anonymous network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your device or item.” It’s the sheer number of active Apple devices and the encryption that makes the Find My network work.
There has been no official announcement to update Find My Device, and we have no idea when the feature will launch. This will be a big deal for Android users and should be worthy of some announcement from the company.

App Archiving will now automatically archive some apps when the Android phone is low on memory

The December Play Store update also adds support for allowing Android users in some states to put a digital copy of their driver’s license in their Google Wallets. Additionally, in late November, Google began rolling out app archiving for Android phones. This feature allows users to uninstall an app to free up space on their phones, but still allows the app’s data to be stored on these devices. As a result, when the app is reinstalled, users will have the same experience with it that they had before it was removed.

And this month’s update takes that feature and runs with it. Now, if the phone has a small amount of storage space, it will automatically archive certain apps. This is good news for those with budget Android phones with limited local storage. The feature appears in v33.5 of the Google Play Store, which was pushed out last Monday.

To see which version of Google’s Android app storefront your phone is running, open the Play Store app and tap your profile picture to the right of the search bar at the top of the screen. From the menu you are moved to, click Settings >: About: and you will see Play Store option at the bottom of the screen. You’ll also see a green link that says “Update Play Store.” Tap it and the Play Store will update, or you’ll see a message saying your phone already has the latest software version.


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