Find My Device network launch nears as iOS 17.5 preps alerts

Google’s Find My Device (FMD) network was originally supposed to launch in the summer of 2023, but it was delayed until Apple implements unknown tracker alerts. The upcoming iOS 17.5 update is adding that support. 

Apple released iOS 17.5 Beta 1 today and our colleagues at 9to5Mac discovered strings detailing how the iPhone will be able to detect third-party trackers. Once found, iOS will direct users to instructions on how to disable them.

For example: “This item isn’t certified on the Apple Find My network. You can disable this item and stop it from sharing its location with the owner. To do this, follow the instructions provided on a website by the manufacturer of this item.”

As of today’s release, this capability is not yet enabled and there’s no user-facing UI. It might go live with later betas and ultimately be ready when iOS 17.5 hits stable.

Looking at past schedules, iOS 17.5 might launch in May. After that update sees wide adoption, Google’s FMD network will be clear of any obstacles.

Google has been waiting “until Apple has implemented protections for iOS,” so that FMD devices cannot be used to track iPhone owners without warning. This delayed the original summer 2023 launch of the network that will leverage over 1 billion Android to periodically check for nearby devices to crowdsource the location of missing ones. The new Find My Device network can “locate devices that are offline or that don’t have location capabilities.”

Several tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee were delayed as a result of Google’s safety stance, while phones and earbuds, like Pixel Buds, have also been prevented from adding these capabilities.

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