Hidden code in iOS 15 confirms AirPods Max and AirPods Pro will be tied to an Apple ID to enable Find My tracking. The upgrade will allow users to locate missing AirPods, even when they’re not connected to another Apple device.
Apple confirmed during its iOS 15 unveiling at WWDC back in June that AirPods will be added to the Find My network — alongside a number of new features including Ambient Noise Reduction and Conversation Boost.
Much like AirTag, AirPods will use Bluetooth to report their location, and they’ll be able to communicate with the closest Apple device — even if it is owned by someone else. Now we know more about how it all works.
How Find My works with AirPods
“To achieve this, the AirPods will finally be tied to your Apple ID,” reports 9to5Mac, which uncovered evidence of the change in iOS 15 code. This will allow lost AirPods to continue communicating with their owner.
AirPods will not be protected by Activation Lock like other Apple devices. So, if someone finds them, they can reset them and use them. However, even when that happens, lost devices will still report to their original owner.
9to5 also discovered some animations that explain how AirPods can be removed from the Find My network, allowing another person to use them after they are sold. When properly removed, the original Apple ID is unlinked.
It’s likely AirPods will require a firmware update before Find My support can be used in iOS 15. Apple has already begun beta testing new software for AirPods Pro, which registered developers can get their hands on now.
Find My and Precision Finding support for AirPods in iOS and iPadOS 15 works only with AirPods Max and AirPods Pro. The more affordable first- and second-generation AirPods will not enjoy the same functionality.