Apple opens Find My app to rival item trackers

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The Find My‌ Network is created by iPhone, iPad and Mac devices
Tile and other location-aware Bluetooth item trackers could soon be accessible through Apple’s Find My app.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020Third-party item trackers will be able to connect to the Find My‌ Network created by iPhone, Mac and other Apple devices, the company announced Monday during its annual developers conference.

This will be a huge benefit to Tile, who recently complained to the EU Commission that Apple is making it harder for customers to use Tile’s location-aware tracking tags even as Apple prepares to launch its own.

Tile and others can connect to the Find My‌ Network accessory program

What Apple offered makers of Bluetooth item trackers is “a new program that will let customers locate your products using the power of the vast Find My network.”

This network is created by Apple devices, and is used to locate each other. An iPad user can open the Find My app to receive a misplaced iPhone, for example.

And the Find My‌ network accessory program expands that to Tile and other tracking tags. Developers will have to get their products MFi certified by Apple. And the specification companies will have to follow to get certified is still under development. It won’t be finished until near the end of 2020.

Apple AirTags are waiting in the wings

One of the items that could have been unveiled at WWDC 2020 is AirTags. Numerous leaks and unconfirmed reports indicate that these will be Apple’s own locator tags that will compete directly with Tile.

Tile read the rumors too, and complained to the EU Commission that the iPhone maker has moved to “completely disadvantage” its smaller rival while it puts the finishing touches on a competing product.

That raises the possibility that the Find My‌ network accessory program was created by Apple to head off accusations of anticompetitive tactics.