Need help finding your missing, lost, or even stolen AirPods? When you can’t find your AirPods or AirPods Pro, it makes listening to your music, movies, shows, phone calls, podcasts, and everything else extremely difficult, especially when in public!
Luckily, Apple offers a way to recover your AirPods or AirPods Pro as long as enabled Find My before you lost them.
Follow these quick tips to locate your lost AirPods and AirPods Pro
- Open the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac (using macOS Catalina+) to see your AirPods on a map and play a chime to help locate them
- Open Find My, tap the Devices tab and tap your AirPods or AirPods Pro
- Sign in at iCloud via a web browser on any device or computer locate your AirPods on a map and play a sound to help locate them
- In a web browser visit iCloud’s website, sign in with your Apple ID, type in your two-factor verification code if needed. Tap the Find app and from the All Devices menu at the top choose your AirPods
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I lost my AirPods, now what?
Ever since Apple showcased these wireless earphones, we all wondered how the heck to keep track of these tiny devices! 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.
There’s even a slew of companies that 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!
That’s why it’s so important to learn how to use Apple’s Find My app in iOS 13+ and iPadOS or iCloud’s Find My Service to locate your AirPods on a map, even play a sound to help find them, and get back to business as usual. And for folks using older iOS versions (12 and below), you’ll use the Find My App (Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac) or iCloud’s Find My Service.
Should the worst thing happen and an AirPod goes missing, these tools help us all locate our AirPods using mapped locations and chimes.
How does the app find your Lost AirPods
If you already set up Find My with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that you use with your AirPods or AirPods Pro, your iOS automatically enables this service for your AirPods too!
So when you lose your AirPods and one or both are out of the case, you can use Find My to locate your AirPods when they are in Bluetooth range of any iDevice signed in with the same Apple ID (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 couch or fell on the floor underneath some furniture.
If your AirPods are out of battery charge, in the AirPods case, or if you’re outside that Bluetooth range, the Find My app tells you where your AirPods were last detected, arming you with some information to find them like the time and location where the AirPods last connected to one of your devices.
Find My does not work if your AirPods are out of battery charge, out of range, or if they’re in their case with the lid closed.
How Do I Find and Track My AirPods Using The Find My App?
Since AirPods don’t have mobile connectivity or WiFi built-in, Find My AirPods tracks the last time your AirPods successfully connected to one of your devices over Bluetooth. This feature provides a general location of where your AirPod(s) might be.
Track Your AirPods On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Open the Find My (Find iPhone) app
- Sign in with your Apple ID and password, if asked
- Choose the Devices tab from the bottom and swipe up to see all your devices signed in with the same Apple ID
- Tap your AirPods’ name
- A map opens with your AirPods current location or last known location with options to play a sound or get directions
- When you choose Play Sound, your AirPods chime when they come online. The sound gets gradually louder for two minutes to help you find them
- Choose Left or Right to find one AirPod at a time
- When you find your AirPods, tap Stop
- If your AirPods are not online, Find My keeps it as a pending action
- If you have an AirPods in your ear, remove it first before you play the sound
- When you choose Directions, Apple Maps app opens and provides you directions to the location listed
If your missing AirPod(s) is out of charge, your Find My app shows the last known location only. Your AirPods cannot play a sound or update their location on your connected iDevice because they cannot connect to Bluetooth!
Why is there is no Find My app on my device?
If you use a Managed Apple ID that’s organized via a school or institution, you don’t have access to Apple’s Find My app and services.
Using the older Find My iPhone app?
- Open Find My iPhone and tap your AirPods’ name
- A map opens with your AirPods location or last known location
- A green dot tells you that your AirPods are online and still have a charge
- A gray dot means your AirPods are off, out of battery, out of range, or are in their case
- The blue dot is the device you’re using to find your missing AirPods
- Tap Actions
- If your AirPods are online, choose Play Sound or tap on the car icon to get driving direction to the last known location of your AirPods
- Choose Mute Left or Mute Right to find one AirPod at a time
- When you find your AirPods, tap Stop Playing
- If your AirPods show up as a gray dot (offline)
- You can’t play a sound until the AirPods get back online
- Tap the car to get directions to the last known location
- If your AirPods come back online, a notification pops-up
If your missing AirPod(s) is out of charge, your Find My iPhone app shows the 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!
How Do I Find My Missing AirPods With iCloud’s Website?
- On a computer, go to iCloud’s Website
- Sign in with your Apple ID (if you have multiple Apple IDs, choose the one you connected to your AirPods)
- Tap Find iPhone
- Enter your Apple ID password, if requested
- Select All Devices
- Choose your AirPods from the list of devices
- If your AirPods are online, they show up as a green dot
- If your missing AirPod(s) is out of charge or in their case, they show up as a gray dot and the map shows the last known location only
- Tapping your AirPods, opens a map with the location of your AirPods
- Tap Play Sound to hear a chirping sound that increases in volume over time
- Remember to mute any AirPod you have in possession, so it doesn’t chirp too
- Choose Mute Left or Mute Right to find one AirPod at a time or press Stop Playing to halt all sounds
What Do You Do If You Only Lost One AirPod?
If you only lost one of your AirPods, first put the one you have in the AirPod case.
When your AirPods are separated from each other, you see only one location at a time on the map. That’s why it’s important to put the one you have in its case.
Then, open the Find My App and tap the AirPod to see it on the map and play a sound.
You can also choose to play the sound to the right or left AirPod (the one that’s missing.)
That way, the chirping only plays on the missing AirPods (and not the one in your ear)!
What If My Missing AirPods Are In Different Places?
When your AirPods are separated from each other and not in the AirPod Case, you only see one AirPod location on the map at any one time.
Use the map and/or sound to locate one AirPod. Once found, put it in the AirPod case.
Then refresh the Find My’s map and locate the other missing AirPod.
AirPods’ Sound Plays Only Within A Certain Range
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.
What Happens If I Lose My AirPod Case?
AirPods’ Case Doesn’t Make A Sound!
The Find My app to locate your AirPods only works with the AirPods themselves, not the charging case.
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.
If your AirPods Charging Case goes missing or gets damaged, you can replace order a replacement from Apple for a fee.
Limitations are Reality
Since AirPods a limited 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 or Mac 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.
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 $59-99 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 a replacement case versus buying a new set outright.
AirPod Case Replacement
Unfortunately, Apple’s Limited Warranty (one year beginning on the purchase date) for your AirPods covers only defective batteries. So if (and when) you lose your AirPod Charging Case, Apple replaces your lost item for a fee of $59-99 USD.
That AirPod case replacement is either new or equivalent to new in both performance and reliability.
If you live near an Apple Store, call the Store to see if they offer AirPods case replacements.
Or, if you don’t live near an Apple Store, contact Apple online or phone support and request they send you replacement AirPods Case for the fee.
What happens if my AirPods are stolen? Can someone use them?
If you lost your Airpods (one, both, or case and all) or suspect they were stolen, the person who now has them can reset and pair them to their own iPhone or device, even when you have Find My enabled.
Learn more in this article: Can Someone Connect My Stolen AirPods to Another iPhone?
There is no lost mode or “iCloud lock” for your AirPods
So once someone resets them and pairs those AirPods to another device, they list under that person’s Apple ID and Find My app and their location no longer appears under your devices in the Find My app.
When someone resets a pair of AirPods, they automatically disconnect from whatever Apple ID they previously paired to.
That means that once the AirPods pair to a new “owner,” you cannot have them play the beeping sound, the location will not update to wherever they currently are, and you cannot track them even if they are close to you and within range.
Think you’re more likely to lose the case than an individual AirPod?
Try Tile or something similar (wireless key finders.)
Many of us already 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, Chipolo Plus, or Pixel. Just make sure they are small enough to stick to your AirPods’ case!
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.
They also 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 a Bluetooth range.
Best Practice is to 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.
Add an ounce of prevention by renaming your AirPods
After losing one full set of AirPods, one of our readers decided to rename his AirPods with one of his email addresses. That way, if the AirPods get lost again when someone tries to connect them, his contact email shows up!
It’s a good idea to set-up a new email address for this purpose or use one that doesn’t have any sensitive or confidential information associated with it.
You could also name your AirPods with your phone number or any other contact information.
Rename your AirPods with some contact information
- Connect your AirPods to one of your devices
- Open Settings > Bluetooth
- Tap on the i icon next to the AirPods
- Tap Name
- Update or change the name to include your contact information (email, phone, other)
- When finished naming, choose Done
- Tap the back arrow to return to your AirPod Settings
- Moving forward, when anyone tries to connect to your AirPods, they also see that contact information
The Future of AirPods?
AirPods and AirPods Pro are a huge and unexpected hit for Apple. Just check your country’s Amazon site and take a look at all the AirPod knock-offs! Everyone wants to cash in on AirPod’s success.
We think that success will lead to a lot more developments on the AirPod, including more controls on the products and possibly some additional features, like monitoring your temperature, heart rate, and other health measures. The future is bright for Apple AirPods!
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 their own dedicated app as our Apple Watch does.
- I lost my AirPods once and intend to never lose them again. My trick? Name your AirPods with your email address, or phone number (or some other way to contact directly.) Assuming the person who finds them is honest, they will contact you!
- It’s always a good idea to check if the credit card you purchased your AirPods with offers any LOST Purchase Protection. Quite a few AMEX, Master Card, and Visa Signature, Gold, or Platinum cards offer this for the first 90-120 days after purchase
- I always purchase any Apple product using my AMEX. American Express doubles your Manufacturer’s Warranty so you’re covered for an extended warranty of 2 years and 180 days of purchase protection
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.
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