Find my AirPods: How to Locate missing AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max
Guide to help you find your lost AirPods
- If you’ve lost your AirPods, you can locate it using either the Find My AirPods app or the iCloud website.
- For both these methods to work in your favor, you need to make sure your AirPods are linked to your Apple ID and that you have Find My enabled on your iPhone.
- If you have an Apple device, you can use the Find My app to locate your missing AirPods. On the other hand, if you don’t have an Apple device, you can use find your device from the iCloud website on any computer.
As much convenience as true wireless earphones offer, they also come with their share of shortcomings. Aside from the most obvious one here, which is the sound quality, the other that concerns most of us is the fear of losing or misplacing these earbuds. Because let’s face it, we do get careless sometimes and tend to forget things. And since these are tiny individual buds, the chances of misplacing or losing them are significantly higher than, say, neckband-style earphones that have wires running through the two buds to hold them together.
When it comes to wireless earbuds, there is a slew of options to choose from. However, in terms of popularity, it is Apple’s AirPods that come out on top as one of the most popular TWS offerings out there — especially if you’re an iPhone user, in which case, the AirPods are more likely to be your preferred choice. With that said, like any other true wireless earphones, these (AirPods) are not immune to the inevitable mislaying problem either.
Fortunately, though, if you’re an iDevice (iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch) or Mac user and have set up your AirPods on the Find My app (and have your AirPods linked to your iCloud account), you stand a higher chance of locating them than say, a scenario where you don’t have these options enabled.
So, should you forget where you kept your AirPods, or in the worst-case scenario, lose your AirPods (or AirPods Pro and AirPods Max), here’s a guide to help you locate your missing AirPods.
What you need to know about finding lost AirPods?
Before we jump in and list out the steps on how to locate your missing AirPods, here are a few things you should know.
1. Irrespective of what AirPods model you have, you will be able to track its whereabouts only till it’s charged. For, once the battery dies, there is no way you can locate it.
2. If you lose your AirPods case, you do not get to use the chime feature — as you do with the AirPods — to make a sound to trace back to its location.
3. The Bluetooth range in which the sound (chime) feature works is limited to 30 feet (10 meters), so you need to be within this range to have your lost AirPods chiming (Note: Look for an update about this further down in this article).
4. For times when you misplace the left and right AirPods separately, the traditional tracking functionality won’t help you. This is because, by default, Maps only shows (one) AirPods’ location at a time. So to locate your AirPods in such situations, you need to, first, use Maps to trace back and locate one of your AirPods. Once found, you need to put it back in the charging case. Finally, similar to how you found the first AirPod, you need to refresh Maps to display the location of the other AirPods to locate it.
5. AirPods are linked to your Apple ID account. So if you lose them, it is possible for someone, who picked them up, to reset your AirPods and start using them. While you, on the other end, no longer have any access to these AirPods as they are now linked to the new user’s Apple ID.
6. If your lost AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max is offline and outside the range, you see “Not location found” or “Offline”. As a result, you cannot play a sound to locate your AirPods in such a scenario. However, what you can instead do is get directions to the location where they were last connected. [In case the AirPods do come back online, you get a notification for the same on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.]
How to Locate missing AirPods using Find My (AirPods) app
Apple rebranded the Find My iPhone app — its location tracking service for iDevices, which had a fairly impressive stint — to Find My, in 2019. There is no separate ‘Find My AirPods’ app as such. ‘Find My’ itself is a network that tracks all Apple devices. The new app enables you to track the locations of your iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS devices right on your phone. In addition to these devices, it also supports location-tracking for its wireless earphones, which includes the entire range of devices from the AirPods and the AirPods Pro to the newly-released AirPods Max.
So if you’ve lost your AirPods, here’s how you can locate its position and trace back to it. However, as mentioned initially, you should have the AirPods set up and linked to your Apple ID before you can take advantage of this feature and locate the missing earphones.
1. Open the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. [Make sure you are signed in with your Apple ID and password.]
2. Select the Devices tab from the bottom.
3. Click on the AirPods (that you want to locate) from the list of devices.
4. You should now see a map with your selected AirPods’ current location or last known location (if you’ve enabled it). Here, you get two options Play Sound and Directions.
Now, based on what you want to do, you can select either of the two options from here. If your AirPods are online, you can select Play Sound to play a chime on your AirPods. When you click on Play Sound, you get a few more options. These include Left, Right, and Stop. As the names suggest here, Left: chimes your left AirPods, Right: chimes your right AirPods, and Stop: stops playing the chime altogether. [The sound played gets louder gradually for two minutes and continues to play until you stop it.]
On the other hand, choosing Directions presents you with Apple Maps, with directions to the location where your AirPods is currently (or has been previously) active.
How to Locate missing AirPods using iCloud
If you do not have an iDevice, or for some reason, wish to track the location of your missing AirPods on a computer, you can use the iCloud website. For this, all you need is your Apple ID credentials, and you’re good to go.
1. Open a browser and head over to iCloud.
2. Here, sign in with your Apple ID and password.
3. Click on All Devices and select your AirPods from the list of devices.
4. When you click on your AirPods, you should see a map with the location of these AirPods. You can use this location to find your AirPods.
5. Lastly, the Play Sound option is similar to what you get on Find My, which chimes your AirPods to help you locate them.
Using either of the two methods listed above, you should be able to track and locate your lost earbud or missing AirPods Max in an ideal scenario. Since, even though these methods work fine most of the time, they are dependent on a few factors — like the ones we’ve listed initially — to work in your favor.
In the worst-case scenario, if for some reason you are not able to trace back and locate your AirPods, you have to, unfortunately, resort to buying a new pair.
iOS 15 will make it easier to find lost AirPods
iOS 15, which is in developer beta at the time of writing, will make it even easier to use Find My on missing wireless earbuds and headphones. At the moment, you can use Apple’s Find My app to trace a lost AirPod, but it only works within Bluetooth range, which is approximately thirty feet, or ten meters, away. Moreover, they need to be out of the charging case, which isn’t ideal if your earbuds are miles away, or in their case. All of that is about to change.
Apple’s iOS 15 lets you locate lost AirPods wherever they are, even if they’re outside of Bluetooth range. Once you are sure that your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max is lost/misplaced, you need to:
- open the Find My app on your iPhone (or iPad),
- tap on Devices,
- then select your missing AirPods.
- The map will show you the last known location of the AirPods.
Here is where it gets interesting. You can mark the AirPods as lost by using the card at the bottom of the screen. Once Lost Mode is enabled, Find My network will begin looking for AirPods. Upon finding them, you will receive an alert on your iPhone/iPad with their current location.
Once you get the location of your AirPods, you can use the Find My app to trigger your lost AirPods to start playing a sound that gets louder as it plays. Now, it doesn’t matter if the earbud is inside the case or not. You can even choose to play the sound on the left or right earbud. This is especially helpful if you have lost just one of the AirPods earbuds.
Alternatively, you can use the proximity view, just like how the new AirTags work. On iPhone 11 or newer, the proximity view will tell you the distance and direction, down to the centimeter, to retrieve your earbud.
iOS 15 will also introduce a new feature called Separation Alerts, which basically alerts you when you have left behind an earbud or the case. Hopefully, this prevents you from losing/missing your AirPods in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you find your AirPods if they are offline?
If you want to track your AirPods, the “Find My [Device]” feature is very important. Therefore, if you’ve been missing your AirPods and haven’t enabled them, you can’t enable them now.
Furthermore, if you see “No Location Found” under your AirPods, you will not be able to use the sound feature to play the chime. However, there is a slight possibility that you can find the location where they last connected. Let us look at some scenarios:
If you lost the AirPods and they were out of charge. Then someone who picked it goes ahead and charges them. Assuming you are still not too far physically, you might get an alert when it’s within a range.
2. How do I find a single AirPod?
If you misplace or lose a single AirPod, you can use the above-mentioned methods to track it. Mind you; Apple lets you track each earbud individually via the Find My app. In case you are unable to find it despite all the efforts, you would need to buy a replacement AirPod from Apple. For example, a single AirPod (1st and 2nd gen) will cost $69, and a single AirPod Pro will cost $89.
3. Can someone use stolen AirPods?
Sadly, yes. It’s not too difficult to use stolen AirPods. Putting both AirPods in a charging case and holding the Setup button for a few seconds is all the thief needs to do. The process is the same as resetting your AirPods to fix a software problem.
You will no longer be able to pair them with any Apple device after resetting them. You can still see them in your settings, but you can’t stop others from using them.
4. Can I find my AirPods if someone else connected to them?
This is a very common and extremely valid question anyone would have after losing AirPods. Unfortunately, AirPods or Find My app will NOT notify you if your AirPods are paired with someone else’s device. Technically, Apple knows the serial number of your AirPods when connected to your iCloud account. But they don’t do anything to help you track if someone else pairs with their iPhone.
5. Why are my AirPods not on Find My?
Well, the first thing you should do is to check if Find My is turned on or off on your iPhone. If it’s OFF, go ahead and turn it ON, and your AirPods will magically appear inside the Find My app.