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Google’s Theft Detection Lock can now tell Android phones when devices get stolen or snatched

Google has unveiled Android 15, the latest update for mobile users. This update includes new features focused on enhancing user interfaces and privacy.

Among these additions, Google is introducing advanced theft protection features aimed at increasing the security of Android devices and safeguarding users’ data in the event of theft.

These new theft detection features respond to just how indispensable smartphones have become, integral to various tasks like online banking and storing sensitive information.

Google states that the suite of features will offer protection before, during, or after a theft attempt. The service will be available through Google Play updates later this year for users on Android 10+ devices, while some features will be exclusive to Android 15.

The Theft Detection Lock, announced at Google I/O 2024, is designed to automatically lock the device when it comes across a suspicious activity that the device is likely to experience when it may be stolen. One such activity would be the sudden jerking motion the device experiences when it gets snatched from the phone.

This AI-powered feature aims to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and enhance security measures.

In addition to automatic theft detection, Google is also enhancing device and data protection measures to deter theft attempts before they occur. The updated factory reset protection feature makes it challenging for thieves to reset and resell stolen devices, which Google hopes will reduce incentives for thieves.

Moreover, introducing the Private Space feature provides a secure area within the phone to hide and lock apps containing personal information, offering an extra layer of protection against data breaches.

Furthermore, Android will now require stricter authentication for changing sensitive device settings, ensuring that even if a thief gains access to a device, they will need the owner’s credentials to make significant changes, thus safeguarding user data and privacy.

For incidents of theft, Google is introducing features like Remote Lock, which allows users to lock their device’s screen remotely with just their phone number and a quick security challenge.

This temporary lock provides users crucial time to recover their account details and access additional options in Find My Device.

These security updates will be gradually rolled out as part of Android 15, with select devices receiving updates later this year. Additionally, Google Play service updates will make these features available to devices running Android 10 and over, ensuring a comprehensive approach to protecting user data and privacy in the face of theft attempts.

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