There’s nothing worse than that feeling of sheer panic that sets in the second you realize you’ve lost one of your devices. Whether it be your Apple Watch, your iPhone, your iPad, your MacBook, or your AirPods, a missing Apple device results in a level of worry and stress unlike anything else.
Thankfully, though, Apple has the solution. It’s called Find My, and it’s a device tracking service that allows you to find a lost AirPods case, a lost iPhone, a lost MacBook, or any other compatible Apple device that has activated the Find My feature.
This service is particularly significant when trying to find a lost AirPods case. The thing is so small, so slick, so inconspicuous, it’s incredibly easy to lose the darn things without even trying. Worse yet, you can’t call them or listen for a vibrating sound like you could with an iPhone.
Miraculously, though, the Find My app makes it easy and convenient to find a lost AirPods case. You simply need to know how to use it (not to mention how it works) before you can do so. As such, we’ve laid out all the steps you need to know to find a lost AirPods case with Find My below, complete with photos.
How Does Apple’s “Find My” Work?
You might be wondering what this ‘Find My’ app is. Well, as it turns out, Apple has given several different names to its trademark device-tracking service over the years. It began with iTools in 2000, an Apple subscription service that gave users access to features such as cloud backup, an address book, and device location tracking.
The app was renamed again in 2002 and then again as MobileMe in 2008. It didn’t actually become Find My iPhone until 2010, then simply Find My in 2019.
The service now known as Find My operates via a proprietary system of encryption that is meticulously crafted to help you track your devices, not the other way around. In other words, the tracking only works one way. No one can reverse-track you through one of your devices.
It works like this: Apple devices with Find My enabled can put out Bluetooth signals regardless of whether they’re online or off. These signals are then interpreted by nearby Apple devices, at which point they send the device’s encrypted location up to the cloud.
Each Find My-enabled device puts out an ever-changing encryption key that only other Apple devices have the key to. The encryption is so complex and secure that only Apple devices can interpret these signals.
No person or device can manually hack into the signals to pinpoint devices — not even Apple. The process is encrypted and anonymous every step of the way. The process sees tiny little pieces of data piggybacking on pre-existing network traffic, drastically reducing the amount of battery or data — and private information — needed to locate lost devices.
How to Find a Lost AirPods Case
Here are the steps to finding a lost AirPods case using Apple’s Find My app. This process will work on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook alike. For the purpose of this guide, we’ve used a MacBook. Nevertheless, the process remains the same across the board.
Step 1: Open the “Find My” App
Firstly, browse through your apps until you find the Find My app. Here, it’s seen between the Maps and Photo Booth apps, but it’s likely to be in a different location on your own particular device. If you can’t seem to find it, you can always Spotlight search for it by name. Once you’ve found it, open up the app by tapping or clicking.
Step 2: Go to the “Devices” Tab
The Find My app consists of three sections: Find People, Find Devices, and Find Items. Find People consists of anyone you’re sharing a location with. Apple lists items equipped with AirTags under the Find Items tab. The third, Find Devices, is the one we’re looking for here.
Depending on how many Apple devices you own, you’ll see a comprehensive list of all your products and their respective locations on a map. Scroll through the list until you see your AirPods, then tap or click on them. This will pinpoint the AirPods on the map.
Step 3: Tap for More Info
Now that your AirPods have been pinpointed on the map, you can proceed in one of two ways. If you recognize the location and it jogs your memory — say, a friend’s house, your office building, or the coffee shop down the street — then you can simply head there and grab your AirPods.
However, if the location is unfamiliar (say, your AirPods have been stolen) or too nondescript (such as within your own home), you have another option: tap the “i” next to the device name for more info about the location and more options for your next move.
Step 4: Find a Lost AirPods Case
If the general location provided by Find My is of no help to you, tapping the “i” gives you some more information about how to pinpoint your lost AirPods case. It will pull up the closest address, as well as give you the ability to play a sound or get directions to the missing case.
Playing a sound won’t do a thing for you unless you’re in the same room as the AirPods case, but this can be a helpful feature if you know the case is in your home.
Getting directions is a great way to find a lost AirPods case in an unfamiliar location. This is the ideal way to find your case if it fell out of your pocket or bag while traveling.
It can also be an excellent way to find a stolen pair of AirPods. But, take caution: it might not be wise to confront an AirPods thief yourself. It might be a better idea to give this location information to the appropriate authorities.