Samsung offline finding can crowdsource the hunt for lost phones

Smartphones have become quite advanced these days but locating them is still a nearly impossible task. We do have "find my" services but those mostly work only if the device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or cellular. There are numerous reasons why a lost phone might not be able to, in which case your last hope would be asking for help. Samsung's latest updates to its device-finding systems do just that by turning any Samsung Galaxy device as a Bluetooth beacon to help locate your lost and expensive phone.

Perhaps your phone finally drained its battery or is in a location where there is no cellular coverage. Thieves have also become more careful about these things and avoid connecting a stolen phone to the Internet until it has been wiped. Either way, when a phone or wearable device is disconnected from the Internet, the chances of finding them takes a sharp dive.

Trackers like Tile use Bluetooth to locate a nearby device but that only works if the phone has a tracker attached. They do have the right idea, though, and Samsung is using the same technology with a slight twist. It turns Galaxy phones into a sort of Bluetooth mesh network and if your device is anywhere within range, it will alert Samsung's system and alert you to its location.

This offline finding feature was added to Samsung's Find My Mobile service as well as part of its SmartThings IoT ecosystem. The latter uses the very same technology but expands it to also search for Galaxy smartwatches and earbuds, devices that may not have Wi-Fi connections in the first place.

Of course, Samsung is hardly the first to have come up with the idea, and, unsurprisingly, many point out that Apple implemented it first. Needless to say, it will still give Samsung device owners some level of comfort, knowing their chances of finding lost phones are now higher.