Callum BoothManaging Editor
Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.
The AirPods Pro weaseled their way into my life two years ago and haven’t let up since. I take Apple’s earbuds with me everywhere — and I love them dearly.
But, today, I had a horrendous shock.
I got up nice and early to go for a run (that #FitBoy lifestyle,) and, to my horror, my AirPods Pro were nowhere to be found. After spending a good 20 minutes searching the usual places, I accepted I must’ve left them somewhere weird and went for my jog anyway.
During my huffing and puffing and grunting and groaning, I wracked my brain trying to work out where the hell they could be.
I’d checked my bag, jacket, and any of the usual spots AirPods could slip down. Nothing. Nada. Diddly-fucking-squat.
After returning from my run sweatier and only more confused with the situation, I got back to the search — and it got increasingly left-field. I dove into the laundry basket, excavated drawers I hadn’t opened in weeks, and braved that terrifying cupboard that’s overflowing with wobbling tupperware.
My AirPods Pro were nowhere to be found.
At a loose end, I decided I’d take a punt and try opening Apple’s Find My app. Maybe, I thought, they’d show me where I connected to them last and I could work backwards from there. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
Turns out, it was more than something, it was everything.
The Find My app didn’t just show where my AirPods Pro were, it provided regular updates on their current location — even though they were nowhere near my phone.
I was dumbstruck. I knew that Apple AirTags could do this, but I didn’t think AirPods had the same capability..
But, whatever. I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I hopped on my bike and headed to the location on the map: a cinema I’d been at the night before.
And… would you believe?
Can we get the folks in the lab to enhance that?
There they were, my AirPods Pro, nestled between the seats like a chocolate egg laid by the Easter bunny.
Once the elation subsided, I wanted to find out how. My previous experience trying to locate a pair of AirPods using the Find My app was awful. It basically amounted to the software showing me where I’d last used them — which was rarely where they actually were. And if you were out of connection range? Good fucking luck.
It appears though that Apple switched this up with the release of iOS 15.1 back in October of 2021.
Now, the third-gen AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max can use the Find My Network for up to 24 hours since they were last connected to their registered device.
This means when someone else with an iPhone passes within Bluetooth range of those devices, their location is marked, and your Find My app is notified. In my circumstance, I now knew where my AirPods Pro were.
This might sound minor, but I could’ve thrown them out by mistake, lost them while cycling, in a bar, or in the cinema. Knowing they were in the latter meant I could easily retrieve them.
But, pals, there’s more. Apple’s update means you can also use the Find function with the third-gen AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max. This means that if you’re in range of the devices, your phone can direct you towards them. Well, if it has the Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip in it, which is the iPhone 11 and above, of course.
Caption: Basically, you can hunt out your AirPods if you’ve dropped them in a busier location — not just left them on your seat in the cinema.
But that wasn’t all. The Find My app has some other amazing features I was ignorant of.
One was Lost Mode. When you mark your AirPods as lost, your device prompts you to input a phone number or email. Then, when someone finds them, these contact details pop up on their screen, while you’ll also receive a notification and their rough location.
Even better, AirPods in Lost Mode can’t be used by anyone else, as they’re tied to your account.
Another spine-tinglingly good AirPods feature — and one I’ve now turned on — is Notify When Left Behind.
Yes, that does what it says: gives you a phone notification when you leave your AirPods behind. And maybe, just maybe, if I’d enabled this feature before today, I would’ve had a much better morning.
Despite all that, I’d like to thank you, the Find My app. For years, I thought you were a bit shit. Useless. A waste of space. But to see you grow from a crappy duckling into a resplendent swan has been one of the great joys in my recent life.
Blessed be thy name, Find My, the sweet savior of my beloved AirPods.
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