Apple pulls iOS app that helped locate lost AirPods


"Finder for AirPods" has been pulled by Apple.
Photo: Deucks

Apple has pulled a third-party app that helped users locate lost AirPods.

“Finder for AirPods” first landed on the App Store last week and used a Bluetooth signal to track down missing earpieces. But just days later, it’s gone, with Apple telling its creator that it is “not appropriate for the App Store.”

AirPods have been incredibly well-received by early adopters, but many have a fear of losing them. Without wires, they’re easily lost inside a bag or between the cushions of a couch, and Apple charges $69 for one replacement earbud.

Finder for AirPods wanted to help users dodge that fee by making AirPods a little easier to locate. It used the Bluetooth signal strength of the missing earbud to establish approximately how far away it is. It wasn’t the most accurate system, but it was better than nothing.

However, after approving Finder for AirPods and allowing it to be published to the App Store, Apple suddenly decided it should be pulled. The company didn’t provide the app’s developers with a reason for its removal, other than it’s “not appropriate.”

It’s thought the ban could have something to do with the fact that the app could be a little unreliable. According to MacRumors, its “signal can be unstable when the user is on one floor and the hidden AirPod is on another.”

What’s more, the app was useless if the missing AirPod was out of Bluetooth range. So, if you dropped the earbud in your car or left it in your desk at work, Finder for AirPods couldn’t help you. Some users might have been disappointed after paying $3.99 for the app.

If you purchased Finder for AirPods, you can request a refund through iTunes. Simply click “View My Account…” in the “Account” menu, choose “See All” under “Purchase History,” then locate the Finder for AirPods app and click the “Report a Problem” link.

Now that the app has been pulled, there won’t be any future updates unless Apple changes its mind and allows it to return.

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  • Maybe they could write an app to find the reason this app was pulled. It would probably work just as well.

    • Jay

      It was pulled because apple wants to do it themselves first. They why didn’t I think of that struck them after approval.

      • If Apple wanted to do it themselves first, they would have done it themselves first. They probably knew how inaccurate it would be.

        There are two possible solutions Apple could implement. 1) For AirPods in range, make them beep loud enough to be heard. Just like Find iPhone. 2) For AirPods out of range, force them to “check-in” with nearby iOS devices, which could then report their location to the owner. Tile already does this, Apple would have a much larger installed base to work with.

      • Jay

        You didn’t mention why it was approved in the first place. You seem to think they plan ahead for everything…

      • No, I didn’t and no, I don’t.

      • :)

        I don’t think Apple would’ve done it first if they wanted to do it first. I think they want to limit this as an AirPods 2 and onwards feature. Just to (screw with early adopters, as usual and) make it seem like the successor is worth it.

      • I’m trying to respond, but I can’t get past the first sentence. You don’t think Apple would do something if they want to do that thing.

      • :)

        Haha, that came out screwy. Not exactly sure what I was thinking, but Apple doesn’t need to release it first if they can block everybody else’s solution from working. Much like how they screwed over Camera+, just to break their own rules a while after by snatching the same idea.

      • Well, it’s all pretty moot unless/until Apple releases the feature themselves. FWIW, I think Apple pulled the app because it misrepresented what it could do.

    • Earl Bosch

      It was pulled because they can make money from people losing their AirPods, at least in the beginning. Then after a year or so they will bring out an app that will save day – and hopefully we forgot about this one…

  • But apple took it down.

  • Mitch Hughes

    My first thought was that people could use it to find nearby items to steal. Don’t know if it worked that way, but that would be a bad thing in a busy location.

    • Pretty sure it only looked for AirPods paired to your phone.