Google explains how Find My Device can locate Pixel 8 when it's dead or powered off

Hands on with the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Back in April, Google announced that the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro would support offline finding. 
  • Now that the Find My Device is rolling out widely, Google is explaining the feature to users enrolled in the network with a push notification.
  • Google says that Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro can report their location to the Find My Device network for "several hours" after it is turned off or the battery dies.

Google started rolling out the Find My Device network a month ago, and it included a key feature for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. In an April 8 blog post, Google said that these flagship phones would be able to report their location to the Find My Device ecosystem even if their batteries were dead or powered off. Now that the Find My Device network is being widely enabled by Android users, Google is explaining to Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro owners how this new feature works. 

In a support document, Google elaborates on how long Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro devices can continue providing location data after they've been turned off or the battery has been depleted. "For supported devices, like the Pixel 8 series, if the device runs out of battery or is off, the Find My Device network can still locate the phone for several hours after it’s turned off," the company says.

Google broadly references the Pixel 8 series in its support document, but it doesn't indicate whether or not the Pixel 8a will support the feature. In other times Google has referenced this functionality, only the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were listed as having support. However, it's possible these documents were published before the Pixel 8a's announcement, and support could come in the future, as noted by Mishaal Rahman.

9to5Google first spotted the push notification Google is sending out to Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users. The notification seems to be more informative than anything else, letting users know that the Find My Device functionality is available. After all, it won't be helpful when you need it if you don't know it's there. Tapping the Learn more button on the push notification will provide more details about offline finding, like Google's guidance that users should make sure Bluetooth and Location are both enabled before their phone shuts down. 

Google Pixel 8 Pro

If you've opted into the Find My Device network, your Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro should report its location automatically when it is powered down or the battery dies. However, that might change if you tweak the default settings. Google provides users with four offline device location settings to choose from: Off, Without network, With network in high-traffic areas only (default), and With network in all areas.

To adjust your choice, open the settings app and navigate to Google > All services > Find My Device. Then, tap Find your offline devices and pick one of the above four options. Be sure to note that only the latter two will make your Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro available for offline finding. 

While this feature will only be useful in the first few hours after your smartphone is shut down or dies, it'll still come in handy. For example, if you lose your phone or it gets stolen, no one can shut it off and immediately cut location reporting. It's limited to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro for now, but Google's wording leaves the door open for Pixel 8a support in the future. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.