Google details seven new features if your Android phone is stolen

  • Google has announced as many as seven new security-focused features for Android.
  • Most are available from Android 10 and up, but some are limited to Android 15 only.
  • Android 15 has entered its second beta, but no official launch date has been mentioned yet.

Google I/O 2024 is still on the go, and day two of the developer conference was dedicated to all things Android. Specifically Android 15, which has entered its second beta, and has been imbued with some new security features in the event that your device is stolen.

“To help keep your device and your data safe before, during and after a theft attempt, we’re introducing a new suite of advanced theft protection features. These features will be rolling out through Google Play services updates later this year to the billions of devices running Android 10+, with some features available in Android 15,” explained Google in a blog post.

The new security features, seven by our count, are split up into three areas – focusing on before your device is stolen, the moment it is stolen, and immediately after it is stolen.

The first of these features is a factory reset upgrade, which requires your device or Google account credentials if a forced reset is attempted. “This renders a stolen device unsellable, reducing incentives for phone theft,” said Google.

Next is a private space for data sensitive apps. “Private space is a new feature that lets you create a separate area in your phone that you can hide and lock with a separate PIN, giving you additional security for apps that might contain sensitive data, like health or financial information,” the company outlined.

Third is an additional layer of security when changing data-sensitive aspects of the device. “Disabling Find My Device or extending screen timeout now requires your PIN, password or biometric authentication, adding an extra layer of security,” pointed out Google.

Up next is another layer of authentication when changing Google-specific elements of the device. Here Google noted that enhanced authentication will require biometrics for accessing or changing critical account and device settings, like changing your PIN, disabling theft protection, or accessing Passkeys, from an untrusted location.

The fourth feature is when the device is actually snatched from your hand, with this triggering a remote lock of the phone. This new feature is said to use, “Google AI to sense if someone snatches your phone from your hand and tries to run, bike or drive away. If a common motion associated with theft is detected, your phone screen quickly locks – which helps keep thieves from easily accessing your data.”

Another device locking feature kicks in if someone tries to disconnect the stolen phone for prolonged periods of time. “Offline Device Lock automatically locks your screen to help protect your data even when your device is off the grid. Android can also recognize other signs that your device may be in the wrong hands. For example, it will lock your device screen when excessive failed authentication attempts are made,” Google shared.

The last feature is another remote lock that allows you to mark your device as lost via Find My Phone. Added to this will be the ability to lock the screen of the phone using your phone number and a security related question. “This buys you time to recover your account details and access additional helpful options in Find My Device, including sending a full factory reset command to completely wipe the device,” Google said.

The company also confirmed that the above three device locking features will be available on devices running Android 10 or higher via an update later in the year.

At the time of writing, however, no official release date has been mentioned for the rollout of Android 15.


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