The Limitations of Find My AirPods

One of the features of the upcoming iOS 10.3 is Find My AirPods. This is just an addition to the Find My iPhone app, which can find any of your network-connected Apple products: iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches.

I’ve installed iOS 10.3 on my iPod touch to test it, and it’s clear that there are some limitations with Find My AirPods.

It won’t find your AirPods if they’re in their case. And it won’t find them if they’re out of charge. It will only find them if they’re paired with the device you’re using to search for them. Which also means it will only find them if you’re within range of where they’re located.

Find my airpods

On the plus side, when you are within range, you can have them play a sound, but when I tested this with them in their case, the sound was “pending,” as you can see above, and never played even after I eventually paired them with my iPod. But this is a beta, so it’s understandable that certain features don’t work correctly.

The biggest problem is that, unlike with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, the AirPods need to be paired to a device to work. If you’ve lost them in their case, you’re out of luck.

4 thoughts on “The Limitations of Find My AirPods

  1. I know you’ve been grumpy with Apple for a while now, but is it beginning to influence your objectivity?

    1) First… “Find your Headphones”? Awesome… who else does that?

    2) You probably didn’t need to state that they don’t work while in the case twice… once was probably adequate. It almost sounded like you were trying to rack up the negative points.

    3) It doesn’t work when battery is dead or in the case? Partially correct… According to other sources they will give the last known location. Very useful if you left them at a restaurant, friend’s house, etc.

    4) Last… They seem to work best for the occasions I would want them to the most. I have “lost” a headphone one time. I was hiking on a snow covered mountain trail and one blew out of my ear due to a major gust of wind. I wasn’t sure I would find a white AirPod on white snow. I did, but I would have felt better knowing I could use the find your headphones option and create a sound to help locate it.

    5) I just realized my reading glasses don’t have a “Find your Glasses” option… Lame!

    Your article seemed unnecessarily negative and a bit incomplete/inaccurate. btw… Thanks for yesterday’s(?) article on mass deletion of photos from your iPhone/iPad. Very useful!

    David Strait
    Apple Apologist

  2. I know you’ve been grumpy with Apple for a while now, but is it beginning to influence your objectivity?

    1) First… “Find your Headphones”? Awesome… who else does that?

    2) You probably didn’t need to state that they don’t work while in the case twice… once was probably adequate. It almost sounded like you were trying to rack up the negative points.

    3) It doesn’t work when battery is dead or in the case? Partially correct… According to other sources they will give the last known location. Very useful if you left them at a restaurant, friend’s house, etc.

    4) Last… They seem to work best for the occasions I would want them to the most. I have “lost” a headphone one time. I was hiking on a snow covered mountain trail and one blew out of my ear due to a major gust of wind. I wasn’t sure I would find a white AirPod on white snow. I did, but I would have felt better knowing I could use the find your headphones option and create a sound to help locate it.

    5) I just realized my reading glasses don’t have a “Find your Glasses” option… Lame!

    Your article seemed unnecessarily negative and a bit incomplete/inaccurate. btw… Thanks for yesterday’s(?) article on mass deletion of photos from your iPhone/iPad. Very useful!

    David Strait
    Apple Apologist

  3. It’s worse than that, Kirk. I lost one of the pair, and Find My iPhone dutifully played the find tone on the one in my hand, and the app then considered the Airpods “found”. The app supposedly has a “mute left” and “mute right” button, but they didn’t show up on my app, only the “play sound” button did. All I can figure is that since one was in range, the app decided I only owned a right Airpod, but not a left Airpod. Meaning the app was fine for finding the one that WASN’T lost, but completely useless for finding the one that WAS lost, entirely defeating the purpose of the app. And I would guess that a fair amount of the time, people only lose one Airpod — unless you’ve lost them both in the case, which as you’ve already stated makes the app worthless. Great engineering, Apple.

    By the way, I only use my Airpods in two places: my office, which is full of Apple devices with Bluetooth, and my home, which is also full of Apple devices with Bluetooth. Apple designed a custom Bluetooth chip that is in each Airpod — they couldn’t give it a Trackr-like feature and have the Airpods announce themselves to ALL of your Apple devices as they come in range? You know, so Find My Airpods could actually, I don’t know, FIND your Airpods?

  4. It’s worse than that, Kirk. I lost one of the pair, and Find My iPhone dutifully played the find tone on the one in my hand, and the app then considered the Airpods “found”. The app supposedly has a “mute left” and “mute right” button, but they didn’t show up on my app, only the “play sound” button did. All I can figure is that since one was in range, the app decided I only owned a right Airpod, but not a left Airpod. Meaning the app was fine for finding the one that WASN’T lost, but completely useless for finding the one that WAS lost, entirely defeating the purpose of the app. And I would guess that a fair amount of the time, people only lose one Airpod — unless you’ve lost them both in the case, which as you’ve already stated makes the app worthless. Great engineering, Apple.

    By the way, I only use my Airpods in two places: my office, which is full of Apple devices with Bluetooth, and my home, which is also full of Apple devices with Bluetooth. Apple designed a custom Bluetooth chip that is in each Airpod — they couldn’t give it a Trackr-like feature and have the Airpods announce themselves to ALL of your Apple devices as they come in range? You know, so Find My Airpods could actually, I don’t know, FIND your Airpods?

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