Apple opens Find My network to third-party gadgets

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The iPhone Find My app just got a lot more open and useful.
The Find My application can finally be used to locate items not made by Apple. There’s a crop of them coming soon.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The Find My application built into iOS and macOS finally opened up to device trackers made by other companies, not just Apple. Wednesday’s move allows iPhones, Macs and iPads to locate lost items produced by third-party accessory makers without needing to install additional software.

The first supported non-Apple products come from Belkin, Chipolo and VanMoof.

Find My is no longer a closed system

When someone misplaces their iPhone, they can use the Find My application on a Mac or iPad to locate it, for example. Hundreds of millions of Apple devices around the globe create a network searching for lost devices via Bluetooth. But previously, this handy feature was limited to only Apple products. That’s not true any more.

“For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” said Bob Borchers, Apple VP of worldwide product marketing. “Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program.”

Previously, a third-party company making an item tracker needed to write its own iPhone, Mac and iPad software. And its devices could only be found by computers running that software.

And the first compatible accessories are …

The Belkin SoundForm Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes and the upcoming Chipolo One Spot item finder make up the first group of third-party accessories that work with Apple’s Find My system. They should hit store shelves beginning next week.

Apple didn’t mention any other companies. However, the program is open to businesses willing to make products that follow certain specifications. Whether that will include Tile, which currently offers the most popular item trackers, remains an open question.

Apple’s long-rumored AirTags, which the company could unveil later this month, undoubtedly will work with Find My, too. Future Apple TV remotes might include this feature as well.