Does Android’s unknown tracker alerts work for anyone? (updated)

Unknown Tracker Alerts is a feature in Android that will look for Bluetooth trackers and report if any that are separated from their owner are in operation around you. This should tell you when someone has planted a tracker on your car, but should not tell you when Dave walks in with his keychain Tile finder (since it’s not separated from him for any length of time).

Here’s my story – A friend of mine dropped off her car for a couple of weeks and asked me and my wife to drive it occasionally to keep the battery juiced and the wheels not dry rotting. She’s in another state, will be back in two to three weeks, no big whoop. I mention this because she is currently separated from her AirTag on her keychain (in my possession,) and a Tile tracker sitting in her car.

I didn’t think anything much about this yesterday as I drove her car around, but then realized today that either both of her trackers have died in one week in my possession, or the tracker finder simply is not working on the current version of Android on my Pixel 8 Pro (yes, it’s turned on). Alternately she left some device in her car which is telling the trackers they’re still connected to the owner.

Checking the documentation on Android’s Unknown Tracker Alerts it lists Apple AirTags by name, and Find My Device network compatible trackers, where Tile is listed as one such.

Initiating a manual scan similarly nets no unknown trackers. Both of these are separated from the owner for over a week, and device they were set up on (presumably her phone) by several hundred miles for a week now. I would suspect I should be getting alerts.

Have you ever gotten an alert? Know any reason why I’m not? Would be interested to know why it’s not working as I drove for at least 50 miles yesterday in that car.

Not attempting to manufacture outrage, really just wondering if anyone has ever seen a warning when traveling with someone else’s trackers separate from the phone they were paired to.

The next day (I don’t write these all at once)

I checked with the owner of the tags who said it’s possible the batteries were shot, and I just so happened to have a pack of CR2032s laying around so I replaced the AirTag battery (which was listing as weak but not dead according to my battery tester,) heard the beep from the AirTag (have not investigated the tile yet) and I drove around yesterday with a functioning AirTag that is not mine sitting in my car waiting for an alert.

It never came.

I manually scanned for unknown trackers, no trackers detected. This was odd as I was right next to it. Went and manually scanned again and Android finally found the AirTag tracker.

I now have the AirTag found from a manual scan, but this does not seem to have ever alerted me that a tracker was around. I drove in with the AirTag today, no alerts… not sure if there will be any due to finding it in a manual scan.

Pixel 8 Pro, current Android revision (April 2024)


At 19 hours of having the new battery in I was informed a device was traveling with me. Now, whether this is 19 hours or several days (since the last battery did have a charge,) I’d really rather cut that down to a few minutes personally as if someone plants this on my car I don’t really want it sitting broadcasting my location.

The alert (first picture up there) was what I received this morning. The first detected time is probably when the manual scan caught it. That tracker was within 50 feet of me most of the day. Second picture is several miles away from my house where it had pinpointed the tracker. Yeah I’m not doxxing myself.

It feels a bit like someone could slip this on your car at the bar, use it, come and rob you/whatever, and be gone before the tracker alert ever kicked in.

I was able to make the tracker beep and locate it (knowing exactly where it was anyway) but yikes.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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