How to Find Your AirPods With or Without Your iPhone

AirPods on a grassy field
AirPods on a grassy field

An all-around guide on how to find your lost AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max via the ‘Find My’ app or website.

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

To make things worse, the 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, back in 2019, 104 of the 5000 pieces of lost property they found were either charging cases or Airpods themselves.

To prevent having your AirPods count as a figure in that statistic, read about this clever solution from Apple themselves. We’ll explain below how exactly you can use the service’s app or its website to your advantage, with or without an iPhone.

AirPods on a grassy field
AirPods on a grassy field

What’s 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. You will also be able to access your device remotely through the iCloud website to lock it, display a message, erase all data, or play a sound so you could find it right away.

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

Understanding the Four Tabs on Find My App

The Find My app is a built-in application that comes in with your iPhone or any other Apple device. Once you open it, you’ll see four different tabs at the lower part of the screen: People, Devices, Items, and Me. Each of these tabs has its own purpose so let’s get to know them better.

People

People tab of Find My app
‘People’ tab of Find My app

The People tab is the left-most tab on the Find My app. This tab pays homage to the Find My Friends app — an app that Apple launched in 2011 and was included in the 2019 merger that created the Find My app.

The late Find My Friends app and the Find My app’s People tab are essentially identical. This is where you could share your location with selected people and vice versa. You may choose to share your location with them for an hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. Additionally, you can also set up the app to notify a person when you are leaving or arriving somewhere.

Devices

Devices tab of Find My app
‘Devices’ tab of Find My app

You can call the Devices tab the bread and butter of the Find My App. This tab houses the core service of the app which is to find Apple devices that need to be found. Upon clicking the Devices tab, you’ll see a list of all your registered devices right away. You will also see a map that shows the real-time location of your active devices.

If you click any of these devices, an action menu will appear which will show your options; like playing a sound and showing directions to the device. Additionally, there will also be options to mark the device as lost, display a message, or erase/remove the device.

For AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max, the only options that will appear are to play sound, show directions to the device, and remove the device from the list.

Items

Items tab of Find My app
‘Items’ tab of Find My app

This tab is dedicated to the items with an AirTag. Apple introduced the AirTag back in April 2021 in an effort to expand the Find My ecosystem. This device is essentially a small coin-like tracker that you attach to anything to make it detectable through the Find My app.

The AirTag has an IP67 rating so you could use it even with outdoor items. It also has a built-in speaker that makes the Play Sound feature of the Find My app possible.

The mechanics for the Items tab is the same as the Devices tab we discussed earlier — which includes playing a sound, giving directions to find a lost device, and more. The only difference is that the Items tab will only track objects with an AirTag with them. The Items tab also features a map where users could see the real-time position of their AirTagged devices.

Me

Me tab of Find My app
‘Me’ tab of Find My app

Finally, the rightmost option is the Me tab. This tab tracks the location of the app’s user and this also serves as the accessibility or settings tab of the app.

Much like any tab in the app, the Me tab features a large map with the real-time location of the user. It also has a pull-up menu where you can tick the options to share your location as well as other notification settings.

You will also see the Help a Friend feature on this tab. The Help a Friend option allows others to sign into their iCloud account on your device so that they could use the app to find their own devices.

How to Find Your Missing AirPods, AirPods Pro or AirPods Max

Now, for the good part.

Not a lot of people are aware that they could actually use the Find My app already to look for their AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max. Well, much like any of your Apple devices, the AirPods and its other variants can be registered to the Find My app and access its features.

Before using the Find My app to track and find 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, your AirPods will automatically be added to the Find My App.

Here’s how you can locate your AirPods through Find My:

  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

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 ‘Find My’ Works Even When Your AirPods Are Offline

As good as it may sound, the Find My app isn’t perfect. For one, you won’t be able to use the Play Sound function if the AirPods are ‘offline’.

Once you place your AirPods or AirPods Pro inside their case, they will go offline and will be tagged as “No location found’ or “Offline” on the App. The AirPods Max, however, will remain online for 18 hours inside its case and 72 hours outside of it. After that, the AirPods Max will also be tagged offline on the app.

However, the app will still allow you to use the Directions feature to help you reach your AirPods’ last known location.

No location found on Find My App
No location found on Find My App

So, if you happen to misplace your AirPods while they’re inside the charging case, just open the Find My App and look for them manually using the Directions option.

Find My would only be able to access your AirPods’ last online locations. This means that if your device is on the move because it got picked up or was left in transit while offline, there’s high probability that the AirPods would be in a different location already.

How to Find Your Airpods Without the Find My App

The AirPods are Apple’s proprietary wireless earphones, but they are certainly not exclusive to iPhone users. Although the AirPods may not function to their fullest capabilities with an Android device, they are still generally compatible with each other and usable to a good extent.

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.

Just like the Find My app on your phone, this won’t work if you haven’t registered your AirPods properly to your list of devices before losing them.

Here’s how:

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

    The iCloud Find My homepage
    The iCloud Find My homepage

  2. Select All Devices and select All Devices

    All Devices dropdown menu of Find My on iCloud
    All Devices dropdown menu of Find My on iCloud

  3. Click Play Sound to locate your AirPods

    Play Sound option on Find My website
    Play Sound option on Find My website

Unfortunately, the Directions option is unavailable if you’re accessing the iCloud website with a desktop for mobility reasons.

How to Replace a Missing AirPod or AirPods Case

Unfortunately, there’s one tricky scenario where the Find My app might not be able to help you at all and that’s if you lose the charging case of your AirPods.

Unlike the AirPods themselves, the charging cases cannot be tracked via the app and it cannot Play Sound as well. So, unless you have an AirTag attached to the case, there’s no way you would be able to find them using the app.

All hope isn’t lost, though. You may not be able to find your AirPods anymore, but you could try out Apple’s replacement program. The replacement program is not limited to the charging case. If one of the AirPods themselves are lost, you can also have Apple replace them for a fee.

As of the time of writing, you won’t be able to ask for a unit replacement for your lost AirPod Max. The only AirPods Max component that can be replaced is the battery which costs $79 but is free with AppleCare+.

How to replace your missing AirPod or charging case

  1. Find and note down your AirPods’ serial number by going to Settings > Bluetooth > AirPods information icon.
    You can also do this by checking the inner part of the charging case, inner part of the AirPods/Pro/Max themselves, or the product information panel of the AirPods’ box.

    Apple AirPods serial number as seen on the Bluetooth Settings
    Apple AirPods serial number as seen on the Bluetooth Settings

  2. Head on to the nearest store or click this page to schedule an appointment to process the replacement. If you’re processing this online, you simply have to answer and click through the options that will be presented to you online.
    Make sure that your iCloud account is logged in before you schedule through the website.

    Appointment options on the Apple Support website
    Appointment options on the Apple Support website

  3. Pay the corresponding fees for the item that will be replaced. If you’re subscribed to AppleCare+, replacing either the AirPods, AirPods Pro, or their respective cases will only cost you $29. If not, here are the expected replacement fees:
    • AirPods Pro – $89
    • Wireless charging case – $99
    • Ear tips – $3.95 each
    • AirPods – $69
    • Charging case – $59
    • Wireless charging case – $79

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!

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