Ever Since Tim Cook showcased his pair of Apple AirPods at the “See you on the 7th” event in September 2016, folks wondered how the heck to keep track of these tiny devices and how to go about finding your lost AirPods. They look so small, so vulnerable that it’s hard to imagine they won’t fall out or get lost the first time you put them on. We look at these AirPods and think about our daily lives and all the activities we do like walking down the street, running, jumping, climbing stairs, getting on the bus or train, and everything in-between. Life is full of activity. So how in the world will those AirPods stay in my ears? It’s just plain hard NOT to fear losing these somewhat pricey headphones.
- AirPods Disconnecting Calls or Sound Quality Issues?
- AirPods Not Auto-Pairing or Sync Problems?
- AirPod Safety
Finding Your Lost AirPods: The World Listened
Even before AirPods released publicly, a slew of companies started selling dedicated AirPods neck straps, basically a piece of wire or string that attaches to the ends of both AirPods. It seemed no one wants to take a chance on losing their AirPods, even before trying them on!
Now, with iOS 10.3, Apple is listening
This iOS update adds AirPod functionality to Find My iPhone, so users locate their AirPods when they are in Bluetooth range of any iDevice (around 10 meters or 30 feet.) That means that Find My AirPods is likely to work inside your house, in your car, around your desk at the office, or anywhere provided you are within a 30 feet (10 meters) vicinity of them. So for those of us that tend to fall asleep on the sofa while watching TV or a program on our iPads, this feature is fabulous in helping to locate those missing AirPods–the ones that slipped into your sofa or fell on the floor underneath some furniture.
If you’re outside that range, the Find My iPhone app tells you where your AirPods were last detected, arming you with some information to find them. Since AirPods don’t have mobile connectivity built-in, Find My AirPods tracks the last time your AirPods successfully connected to your iDevice over Bluetooth. So this feature provides a general location of where your AirPod(s) might be.
If they still have a charge, once you move into that 30 feet (10 meters) radius of the last known location, turn on “Play Sound” to have your AirPods make a chirp-like sound that gets louder over time. And if only one AirPod is missing, choose to play that sound through the right or left AirPod. That way, the chirping only plays on the missing AirPods (and not the one in your ear)! Unfortunately, only your AirPods make this locating sound, your AirPods’ case doesn’t have speakers and consequently cannot create any sound to help you locate it should it go missing.
Limitations are Reality
Since AirPods only have a five-hour battery life, you don’t have much time to realize an AirPod is missing. Once the battery drains, your AirPods can no longer create a chirp or provide any updated information on location.
Find My AirPods requires that your AirPods connect to your iPhone or another iDevice using that same iCloud account. That means that Find My AirPods does not work when your AirPods are in the AirPods case. So if you lose the AirPods when they’re in your case, Find My AirPods currently does not help you.
Find Your Missing AirPods
- Open Find My iPhone and sign in with your iCloud account (if you have multiple Apple IDs, choose the one you connected to your AirPods)
- Under Devices, tap your AirPods
- Your iPhone maps and displays the location of your AirPods
- Select Actions and at the bottom tap Play Sound to hear chirp OR tap on the car icon to get driving direction to the last known location of your AirPods
- Your AirPods now chirp, increasing in volume over time. Remember to mute any AirPod you have in possession, so it doesn’t chirp too
If your missing AirPod(s) is out of charge, your Find My iPhone app shows you last known location only. Your AirPods do not chirp or update their location on your connected iDevice-there’s no power to connect to Bluetooth!
My AirPods are Totally Lost, Now What?
If you cannot locate your AirPods at all and Find My AirPods doesn’t help locate them (or they are not in the last know location,) Apple offers a replacement program for both individual AirPods and the Charging Case.
Let’s start with the good news: if you need service for your AirPods or its charging case, Apple covers them at no charge under the company’s One-Year Limited Warranty. That warranty covers defective batteries but not normal wear and tear. So if your AirPods’ Battery capacity decreases over time, depending on the reason, it might be covered, OR you might need to play Apple’s battery service fee.
Now, if you lose an AirPod or your charging case, Apple offers a fee-replacement program. Price is dependent on location but currently, is set at UDS $69 per AirPod or case. So if you lose all three, it’s cheaper to purchase a new set. And if you lost both AirPods but not the case, you’ll save only a few dollars by purchasing replacement versus buying a new set outright.
Best Practice–Check Up!
We all check on various things we carry with us throughout the day. Things like our keys, , wallets, iPhones, purses, lipstick or chapstick, etc. Most of the time, we do this routine without even thinking about it. So for AirPod owners out there, briefly check for your AirPods along with that other important stuff. That way, even if you do misplace them, they don’t get too far.
Think you’re more likely to lose the case than an individual AirPod?
Try Tile or something similar. Many of us use Tile for our keys, why not for our AirPod cases? The size is similar to the AirPod case, just requiring you to affix the Tile to the outside of the case. Tile even sells its own adhesive. Other options include TrackR’s Bravo or Pixel.
These third-party trackers include batteries that last up to a full year with no additional charging required. And they also have a bigger Bluetooth range than AirPods, reaching on average 100-feet. Similarly, Tile and TrackR either ring, play a tune, or light up (manufacturer & model dependent) until you find your missing item. And they feature iPhone and iDevice apps to help you find your things. They even include crowd location sourcing to find lost items for when you’re outside Bluetooth range.
And who knows, maybe Apple will catch on and include these features in the next generation of AirPods and cases? We’d love to see the AirPods have its own dedicated app like our Apple Watch does.