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Find Your Pixel 8 Even When It's Dead or Offline

by Josh Kirschner on April 09, 2024

Yesterday, Google announced the launch of its enhanced Find My Device network, with significant upgrades to allow Android users to locate their misplaced devices and other everyday items using trackers. One of the more notable features of this update is the ability to find Pixel 8 and 8 Pro devices even when they're powered off or have a dead battery, making it easier than ever to recover lost or stolen phones.

Lost phone concept

Similar to Apple's Find My network, Google's Find My Device relies on the Bluetooth capabilities of Android devices to scan for nearby items. When an item is detected, its location is securely transmitted to Find My Device. In turn, Android devices help others find their offline items when detected nearby, creating a robust, crowdsourced network for locating lost devices and items.

With the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, specialized hardware enables tracking while offline or even powered off entirely. As reported by The Verge, a power reserve is channeled to the phones' Bluetooth chip, allowing them to be located for several hours after being turned off or if they shut down due to a low battery. This feature should make it easier to potentially recover a stolen device.

Read more: The Hidden Cost of Spam Calls: All That Wasted Time Adds Up

While there isn't confirmation from Google, it's safe to assume that the Find My Device features of the Pixel 8 series will be offered in future rumored flagship devices like the Pixel Fold 2, Pixel 9, and Pixel 9 Pro.

The Find My Device network is currently rolling out in the US and Canada, with trackers from Chipolo and other companies set to become available in May.

Setting Up Find My Device

To take advantage of the Find My Device network, you must ensure your device is set up correctly.

Turning on Find My Device:

  1. On your Android device, open the "Settings" app.
  2. Tap "Google" > "Find My Device".
  3. Check that "Use Find My Device" is turned on.

Within Find My Device, Google offers a choice in how your device will participate in the network.

  • "Off": Your device's encrypted recent locations won't be stored, and your Android device won't participate in the network.
  • "Without network": Your device won't participate in the network. You can still locate your offline devices with their encrypted recent locations that were stored when they were online.
  • "With network in high-traffic areas only" (default): Locate your offline devices with their encrypted recent locations or the network in areas like airports or busy footpaths.
  • "With network in all areas": Locate your offline devices with their stored and encrypted recent locations or the network in high-traffic and low-traffic areas.

To find your device when the device is off on supported devices like Pixel 8 series and up, set the option to "With network in high-traffic areas only" or "With network in all areas." Note that in order to find powered-down devices, both Bluetooth and Location must be turned on when the phone shuts down.

[Image credit: Lost phone concept generated by Midjourney]

Josh Kirschner is the co-founder of Techlicious and has been covering consumer tech for more than a decade. Josh started his first company while still in college, a consumer electronics retailer focused on students. His writing has been featured in, NBC News and Time.


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