🎉 The Headphonesty Store is Open! 🎉 👀 Let’s Go

How to Find Your AirPods No Matter the Situation

AirPods on a grassy field
AirPods on a grassy field

Here’s how you can find your AirPods whether they are online or offline, with or without your iPhone.

Anyone who owns a pair of AirPods has probably experienced standing in the middle of the room or the street, scratching their heads, wondering where their AirPods are.

To make things worse, AirPods aren’t exactly cheap so losing them is painful on the pocket too!

According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York’s subways, 1,220 out of 2,194 items dropped through the subway’s grates between September and December 2019 were AirPods.

To prevent having your AirPods count as a figure in that statistic, read about these clever solutions on how to find your AirPods no matter the situation. Plus, a bonus tip so you’ll never lose your AirPods again!

What is the Find My App?

Apple's Find My logo
Apple’s Find My app logo

The Find My app is a mobile application created by Apple in order to track the location of their products when in use. This app traces its roots back to the iconic Find My iPhone and Find My Mac which were both released in 2010.

As Apple’s products diversified, they also had to increase the capabilities of their location-tracking services; thus, the birth of the all-around Find My app in 2019.

For someone who constantly misplaces their AirPods and other Apple products, the Find My app is heaven-sent. With this app, you’ll be able to locate your missing device on a map easily, or play a sound so you could find it right away.

You will also be able to access your device remotely through the iCloud website to find your lost AirPods, lock it, display a message, or erase all data.

This app is a one-stop shop for all things related to losing your Apple device, and it is unquestionably helpful.

How to Find Your AirPods Using the Find My App

If you lost your AirPods 1, AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max the Find My app is a useful tool to relieve you of your worries.

Before using the Find My app to track your lost AirPods, it has to be added to the app first. Fortunately, as long as your iCloud account is activated on the device you are pairing them to (e.g. your iPhone), your AirPods will automatically be added to the Find My App.

Below, you’ll find the key information to get the most out of the feature.

How to Find AirPods Using Find My’s Direction or Play Sound Feature

Here’s how I track my AirPods through the Find My app:

  1. Open the Find My app and select the Devices tab.

    Selecting the Devices tab on the FInd My app
    Selecting the Devices tab on the FInd My app
  2. Click on the AirPods from the list of devices or click the image of the AirPods on the real-time map.

    Selecting AirPods option on the Find My app
    Selecting AirPods option on the Find My app
  3. Click on the Play Sound option so you could hear where your AirPods are or choose the Directions option so you could navigate your way to your AirPods.

    Play Sound and Directions options on the Find My App
    Play Sound and Directions options on the Find My App

How to Find Nearby AirPods

The next feature worth looking at in Find My is the proximal ‘Find Nearby’ location feature.

Since compatible AirPods (presently, this only includes AirPods Pro, AirPods 3, and AirPods Max) give off a constant Bluetooth signal, their location can always be detected by nearby devices.

This feature locates AirPods by proximity – either near or far. It works sort of like the classic hot and cold game, telling you if you are getting closer to or farther away from the AirPods based on their detected Bluetooth signal strength.

AirTag users might be familiar with the basic functionality of this feature, while also simultaneously finding it a bit lacking. Compared to this feature, AirTags use ultra wideband technology, and can therefore give advanced directions to your device that include direct and exact distance.

To take advantage of this feature, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the Find My app on a supported iPhone or iPad (version 15.0.1 or later)

    Selecting Find My App
    Selecting Find My App
  2. Select the AirPods you wish to locate

    Choose your lost AirPods
    Choose your lost AirPods
  3. Tap ‘Find’. If you are close enough to the AirPods to get a signal, the app will show if you’re getting ‘hotter’ or ‘colder’ from the AirPods.

    Click Find
    Click Find
You must have previously paired the AirPods with the device you are planning on using to find them with. In other words, you could not use the Find Nearby feature on a friend’s iPhone to find your AirPods unless they had been previously paired to that iPhone.

What to Do if Only One AirPod or AirPod Pro Is Missing

For the AirPods and the AirPods Pro, losing one earbud is quite common and it can be very frustrating. Fortunately, Apple has addressed this problem by allowing users to use the Find My app to find them one earbud at a time.

The process is pretty much the same as looking for anything with the app, The only difference is that you have to treat each AirPod as one device. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Find My app > Devices > AirPods
  2. Use either the Play Sound or the Directions feature to find one of the earbuds.
  3. Put the earbud back in the case and wait for the map to refresh. If the map fails to refresh right away, simply restart the app.
  4. Once the other earbud’s location shows up, use the Play Sound or Directions feature again to find it.

How to Find Your Airpods if They Are Offline

One issue with the Find My feature is that it only works with AirPods that are “online”. As soon as your AirPods go offline, real-time tracking will be lost. Instead, you will only be informed of their last online location, which may not be accurate, especially if someone picked them up or if they’re left on a moving vehicle.

AirPods become ‘offline’ when they are left inside a closed charging case or if they have no remaining battery life.

Unlike AirPods’ 5-hour battery life, AirPods Max will stay active for 72 hours outside their case and 18 hours within it before going into an offline state to preserve battery life.

That’s where Lost Mode, a feature released alongside iOS 15, comes into play.

While older systems helped you out on your solo quest to find your AirPods, Lost Mode is more akin to employing a search party.

This system goes beyond just your device, extending the search to other people’s iPhones and iPads. When your AirPods are found within this friendly network, you’ll be alerted to their location via your device.

For example, if your AirPods are inside a closed charging case and someone happens to pick them up and tries to connect with them, they’ll automatically go through a series of notifications.

For one, Find My will notify you that the AirPods are back online. You’ll also have the option to notify the finder of your contact details.

This feature is exclusive to AirPods Pro, AirPods Gen 3, and AirPods Max.

How to enable Lost Mode for your AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max

Before the Lost Mode feature, finding offline AirPods can easily become a dead end. This feature gives new hope to AirPods users and promotes a sense of community within iOS users.

Here’s how you can turn on Lost Mode:

  1. Under Devices on your Find My app, choose your missing AirPods.

    Choosing AirPods on devices list
    Choosing AirPods on devices list
  2. Select Activate under Mark as Lost to enable Lost Mode.

    Activating Lost Mode
    Activating Lost Mode
  3. Click Continue.

    Tap Continue
    Tap Continue
  4. You can opt to leave a message with your contact details to anyone who finds the lost AirPods. This will appear automatically on their iOS device once they connect to the AirPods.

    Contact details form on Lost Mode
    Contact details form on Lost Mode
  5. Select Activate again to finalize.

    Finalize Lost Mode activation
    Finalize Lost Mode activation

How to Find Your Airpods Without Your iPhone

While AirPods are clearly made with an iPhone or an iPad in mind, they’re mostly compatible with Android phones and other Bluetooth devices. As a result, many people use the very popular AirPods with Android phones or other non-Apple devices.

However, some features, such as the Find My app are exclusive to iOS devices. So when these users find themselves thinking, “I need to find my AirPods.” they may think they are out of luck. Fortunately, they can still use the iCloud Website or other Play Store apps.

Find AirPods using the iCloud Website

For non-iPhone users who have AirPods or iPhone users who do not have access to their phones, Find My can still be accessed through the iCloud website.

Here’s how to navigate the site to find your AirPods:

  • Open a browser and head to iCloud.com/find. Make sure you’re logged in to your iCloud account.

    Log in to iCloud
    Log in to iCloud
  • Select All Devices and select your iPhone.

    All Devices dropdown menu of Find My on iCloud
    All Devices dropdown menu of Find My on iCloud
  • Click Play Sound to locate your AirPods. 
Unfortunately, the Directions option is unavailable if you’re accessing the iCloud website with a desktop for mobility reasons.

Find AirPods using a Third-Party App

Naturally, Android users will have a variety of third-party alternatives to the Find My app. While these apps might not be fully compatible with AirPods in that they don’t utilize all of Apple’s proprietary features, they do prove helpful.

One such app is Hendrik Folkerts’ Wunderfind: Find Lost Device – Headphones available via the Play Store.

Wunderfind -- third-party AirPods finder
Wunderfind — third-party AirPods finder

The app works by helping you find connected devices via a ‘device radar’. This device radar works very similarly to the Find Nearby feature, giving you a distance score to tell you if you are getting closer to or further from the device.

Yes, unfortunately, this is only for connected devices. If I want to find my AirPods that are disconnected, I’ll have to try a different method.

Compared with Apple’s Find My app or AirTags, Wunderfind will feel basic. No maps, no directional pointers, and no widespread network of other phones searching for your lost device, just a displayed distance.

In difficult cases, you might feel like you’re basically triangulating your AirPods’ location, but you will find them.

Bonus: Apple Expert’s Trick to Avoid Losing Your AirPods Again

If you take your AirPods with you when you travel or run errands, chances are you’ve found yourself feeling paranoid that you’ve left them behind a time or two. Since one of the best ways to find my AirPods is to not lose them in the first place, I always make sure to turn on the new ‘Notify When Left Behind’ feature.

The Notify When Left Behind feature also works with AirTags, other devices saved in Find My, and Macs with Apple Silicon.

When you leave your AirPods in a location they shouldn’t be left behind at (more on setting up locations in a minute) your phone will automatically alert you (for up to 24 hours) that you’ve left them behind.

Using an iPhone 12 or later, you can set up the feature for your AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or AirPods (3rd generation) with the following steps:

  1. Select your AirPods on Devices tab on Find My app.

    Tapping AirPods on Find My
    Tapping AirPods on Find My
  2. Tap Notifications > Notify When Left Behind.

    Activating device notifications on Find My
    Activating device notifications on Find My
  3. Turn Notify When Left Behind on (so that the white circle is to the right).

    Turning on 'Notify When Left Behind'
    Turning on ‘Notify When Left Behind’
  4. Under ‘Notify Me, Except AT’ tap New Location and add any locations where you are comfortable leaving your AirPods.

    Adding exceptions
    Adding exceptions

Conclusion

And there you have it!

Apple’s Find My is one of the most helpful services there is today. With nifty functions such as Play Sound and Directions, there is no doubt that it would help people look for their missing AirPods.

So, the next time you reach for your AirPods inside your pocket only to find out that they’re not there, don’t panic. Reach for your iPhone or head on to the iCloud website, open the Find My, and just click your way to finding your AirPods — it’s that easy! No more mini heart attacks and cold sweats.

What feature of Find My do you find the most helpful? What are your experiences with lost AirPods and replacements? Let us know through the comments!

2 comments

  1. I did everything that’s written above and my phone still couldn’t find my phones. They cost so much and have so many features that are useless. Not happy at all!

    1. Hello Svetlana,
      Exactly on 20th June i found set of airpods 3rd generation. Send me an email with the place/city/country where you lost them and i will send them to you via post. I was on holiday and found them on the way to the airport, there wasn’t much left to do with them than taking them with me, since there wasn’t any lost and found office, nor officer who can guarantee they will report as lost. [email protected]

Leave a Reply