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How to find your AirPods in case you lose them

It’s easy to lose a bud. Here’s what to do.

apple airpods on iphone 7
Image: Unsplash

True wireless earbuds like AirPods are great, but one of the things that makes them great is also one of their most annoying features – the size. It’s all too easy to lose one earbud, or both, once they’re out of the charging case, and it’s fairly easy to misplace the case.

Couch cushions love swallowing small objects, pets love to push things off tables or carry small things around, and your tiny, wireless earbud is at their mercy. Heck, they’re waterproof so you might even forget to take them out of your jeans before it’s wash day.

Apple knows how easy these expensive AirPods are to lose, so the company has added them to one of the most useful iOS apps – Find My. This tracking app keeps tabs on all of your Apple gear, but it’s useless if you haven’t set it up first so we’ll show you how.

Here’s how to use the Find My app to find an errant AirPod

None of this would be possible if you don’t have Find My set up, so let’s do that now. Open the Settings app on your iPhone, tap on your name at the top, then tap on Find My. Then tap on Find My iPhone and tap on the toggle switch to turn it on.

Having Find My on for your iPhone means your AirPods and Apple Watch will be automatically added to the list. You won’t be able to activate or use Find My if you’ve already lost your AirPods, so do this as soon as possible.

Open the Find My appfind my app on apple iphone
You could also use iCloud.com/find to help find your missing AirPod
Tap the Devices tabapple find my app showing devices tab
Find your AirPods on the list of devices
If your AirPods are within Bluetooth range, you’ll see a map with their current location. You’ll also get the option to play a sound on one or both earbuds
Tap on Play Sound on whichever AirPod you’re missing, and start listening for a chirping sound
The chirping will get progressively louder for two minutes. If you haven’t found it in that time, but can still hear it – tap Play Sound again
You can switch between the two AirPods by tapping L or R
Once you’ve found them, tap on Stop

Okay, so now you know how to track down your AirPods, you’re good right? Well, they’re only really trackable in some situations. If they’re out of the charging case, still charged, and close enough for Bluetooth, it’s fairly straightforward. If any of those things aren’t true, you’ll still see the last known location of your AirPods, and directions to that location.

READ MORE: Why do my Apple AirPods keep disconnecting?

Hopefully, following those directions gets you close enough that your iPhone can trigger the tracking sound coming from your AirPods. The thing is, if they’re inside the charging case, you won’t get that sound at all. Maybe Apple will add their AirTag tracking to a future AirPods case, so losing the case doesn’t mean losing your AirPods.

AirPods Max are slightly different, in that your iPhone can find them for up to 18 hours if they’re inside their case. If they’re not in the case, it’s 72 hours you have to find and trigger the sound.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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