Apple is making it even easier to use Find My on lost wireless earbuds.
Apple’s AirPods are handy, but they’re also really small and extremely easy to lose. Apparently, those pesky wired headphones had the advantage of acting as some sort of physical connection. Apple plans to expand the electronic tether range for iPhone with iOS 15 through AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. (Developers can now download the iOS 15 developer beta.)
Currently, you can use Apple’s Find app to help you locate a lost earbud, but that’s only for your AirPods. Bluetooth works if you’re in range – that’s about 10 meters. and they must be outside the charging box; i.e. not ideal if your headphones are miles away and in their boxes. But now that’s about to change.
When iOS 15 is officially released later this year (the public beta arrived in July), you’ll be able to find your lost AirPods wherever they are, even outside of Bluetooth range. Here’s what we know and need to know about how this feature works.
Find My Network is the key to lost AirPods and more
Apple’s Find My network is what makes it possible to locate a lost or stolen Apple device such as an iPhone, recently launched AirTags, and third-party devices such as an electric bike.
Each Apple device scans and finds the Bluetooth signal of Find My compatible devices.
When found, the Find My network will send you an alert about your item’s location. Every step of the process is encrypted and you’re the only one who can see your item’s location.
How to turn on Lost Mode for AirPods Pro or AirPods Max
We haven’t been able to test the new feature yet, but using Apple’s WWDC demonstration and our familiarity with the Find My app we have a pretty good idea of how it will work.
After you realize you’ve lost your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max (sorry standard AirPods owners, it looks like you’re out of range for now), open the Find My app on your iPhone. Tap the Devices tab, then select your AirPods. A map will show you the last location you had your AirPods, including the time.
You can mark AirPods as Lost using the card at the bottom of the screen. (You may need to swipe up the card at the bottom of the screen to see all the available options.)
When Lost Mode is enabled, the Find My network starts searching for your AirPods. When they’re found, you’ll get an alert on their current location on your iPhone.
You know where your AirPods are, so now what?
Once you get to the location of your lost AirPods, you have two options. You can use the Find My app and trigger your AirPods to start playing a sound that gets louder as it plays. Apple said it doesn’t matter if your AirPods are inside the case or not. You can choose to play the sound on the left, right or both earbuds.
The other option is to use the proximity view that Apple’s AirTag trackers use. If you have an iPhone 11 or later, the proximity view will tell you the direction and distance to exactly where you need to go to get your headset.
Separation Alerts make it harder to lose your AirPods in the first place
Apple also announced a new Find My feature for AirPods called Separation Alerts. As the name suggests, the Find My app will warn you when you leave your AirPods behind, so you don’t get into search and rescue chores.
Integrating AirPods with Find My is just one of many new features Apple has announced. For starters, the iPhone is getting a bunch of new FaceTime features and the iPad is getting better at multitasking.