Use AirTag to Easily Locate Your Lost AirPods – The Complete Guide

March 14, 2024

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Finding your lost AirPods just got a whole lot easier with AirTag. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to leverage AirTag technology to effortlessly track down your misplaced wireless earbuds.

A Quick Overview of AirTag AirPods

Elago Duo Silicone Case

AirTag AirPods refer to using Apple’s AirTag trackers with AirPods to help locate them when misplaced. By attaching an AirTag to the AirPods case and enabling Find My integration, you can precisely track their location using the Find My app on iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Some key benefits of AirTag AirPods include:

  • Precision tracking to find exact location of each earbud and case.
  • Ability to play a sound to pinpoint AirPods when nearby.
  • Location updates from Find My network when out of Bluetooth range.
  • Last known location when offline.
  • Alerts when AirPods are detected moving with you.
  • End-to-end encryption for privacy protection.

How AirTag AirPods Tracking Works

AirTag AirPods take advantage of ultra-wideband technology in the U1 chip available in newer iPhone models and AirPods Pro/Max. This allows for highly accurate, directionally aware tracking down to the centimeter when in close proximity.

For longer distances, the Find My network kicks in. This crowdsourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices can detect Bluetooth signals from your AirPods case with attached AirTag and relay the approximate location back to you.

Even if your AirPods case is offline and out of range, you’ll get notifications when it comes back online or is detected moving with you again.

Throughout the process, end-to-end encryption ensures your location data remains private and secure. Only you can view your AirPods location or receive notifications.

Choosing an AirTag Model

Apple Airtag

Apple offers AirTag in a single one-size model. At just 1.26 inches wide and 0.31 inches thick, it easily fits into an AirPods case or on a keychain.

AirTag is designed to be water and dust resistant with an IP67 rating. Stainless steel construction and smooth, curved edges help minimize scratches.

A user-replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery powers each AirTag for up to one year before needing replacement.

Airtag's Battery

AirTag Tech Specs:

  • Dimensions: 1.26 in x 1.26 in x 0.31 in
  • Weight: 0.39 oz
  • Water and dust resistance: IP67 rating
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth LE, Ultra Wideband
  • Compatibility: iPhone and iPad models with U1 chip, Find My app
  • Battery: User-replaceable CR2032 (lasts ~1 year)

While a single AirTag is all you need for tracking AirPods, you can purchase them in 1, 2, or 4 packs if you want spares or to use with other items.

For added security, consider attaching your AirTag to your AirPods case using an AirTag loop or AirTag carabiner.

How to Set Up AirTag with AirPods

Setting up AirTag with your AirPods only takes a few minutes. Just follow these steps:

  1. Update your iPhone or iPad to the latest iOS/iPadOS.
  2. Make sure Find My is enabled on your AirPods case. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My AirPods.
  3. Open the AirPods case and hold the AirTag near the case with the white side facing the back.
  4. A notification will pop up to add the AirTag. Tap Connect.
  5. Name your AirTag and select AirPods as the item type.
  6. Tap Done when prompted to finish pairing.
Airtag Setup Process

That’s it! Your AirPods case is now trackable through the Find My network.

Enabling Find My Network

For tracking beyond Bluetooth range, be sure Find My network is enabled by going to Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My Network.

Find My Network

You can also enable Lost Mode for added security. This lets you assign a PIN that must be entered on the paired device before the AirPods case can be used again.

Locating Your AirPods with Find My App

The Find My app included on Apple devices provides everything you need to view the current or last known location of your AirTag AirPods.

Finding Your AirPods on the Map

Open the Find My app and select the Devices tab. A map will show the location of your AirPods case. You can tap the case icon to see the exact address, current battery level, when it was last updated, and options to play a sound, get directions or put into Lost Mode.

Finding Your Airpods On The Map

If your AirPods are out of Bluetooth range but still detectable via Find My network, you’ll see its last known location on the map. Keep in mind this may not be exact as it relies on anonymized relaying of Bluetooth signals.

Using Sound and Haptics to Pinpoint Nearby AirPods

If your AirPods are nearby but the map isn’t precise enough, you can force them to play a sound. Just tap the Play Sound button in the Find My app. This will cause the AirPods to emit an audible alert, making them easier to zero in on.

On AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, you can also use Precision Finding. This uses audible tones and haptic feedback from your iPhone’s U1 chip to guide you to the exact location, indicating if you’re getting closer or farther away.

Offline Finding and Lost Mode

Even if your AirPods move out of wireless range and cannot update their location, the Find My app will show its last known position. This at least provides a starting point for your search.

For extra security, you can remotely trigger Lost Mode on your AirPods case within Find My. This locks the case and displays your contact info for anyone who finds them. It also lets you play a sound. Lost Mode persists even when the case is offline until you disable it.

Get Notified When AirPods Move or Are Found

The Find My app can proactively notify you of important events related to your AirTag AirPods.

Separation Alerts

If you accidentally leave your AirPods behind somewhere, Separation Alerts can notify you as soon as they are detected moving away from your phone without you. This helps you retrieve forgotten AirPods before getting too far away.

You can fine tune the sensitivity of this feature in Find My settings. Set it to only notify you when you leave your AirPods in commonly forgotten locations like home, work, or the gym.

Found Alerts

Thanks to Apple’s vast Find My network, you’ll get an alert when your lost AirPods are detected in range of any other network member’s device.

This gives you the chance to quickly track them down before their location changes again or the battery runs out.

Safety Features For Responsible Tracking

Apple has built in safety measures to discourage tracking people without consent. If an unknown AirTag is detected moving with you, your iPhone will notify you and provide instructions for disabling it after a period of time.

Advanced Features For Precision Finding

AirPods Pro and AirPods Max offer enhanced finding capabilities thanks to their U1 ultra wideband chip.

Precise Tracking of Individual Earbuds

With AirPods Pro or Max, Find My can display the exact location of each earbud independently, rather than just the case. This helps track them down quicker if they get separated.

Precise Tracking Of Individual Earbuds

Visual and Haptic Guidance to Lost AirPods

Precision Finding uses a combination of graphics, sounds and haptic feedback to guide you right to your AirPods Pro or Max. Just hold up your phone and literally follow the arrows to zero in on your earbuds. Vibrations indicate if you’re getting closer or farther away.

Visual And Haptic Guidance To Lost Airpods

Find My Network Integration

Even if AirPods Pro/Max are not in Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help surface their approximate location to help narrow your search. So you get benefits of both ultra wideband and crowdsourced tracking.

To get the full benefit of Precision Finding, wear your AirPods Pro with AirTag earrings or an AirTag necklace. This keeps your iPhone and AirPods in close proximity for the most accurate tracking.

Make Sure Find My Is Always Available

To ensure you can track your AirPods at all times, follow these tips:

  • Keep your iPhone charged and with you as much as possible.
  • Enable offline finding in Find My settings. This lets you locate AirPods even when your iPhone is offline.
  • Install the Find My app on all your Apple devices including Macs and iPads.
  • Enable Find My network to expand the tracking coverage.
  • Replace the AirTag battery annually so it stays powered on.
  • Set up Separation Alerts to be notified if you accidentally leave AirPods behind.

Stick an AirTag inside a removable AirTag shoe insert or sew one into a jacket lining with an AirTag jacket pouch to conceal it discreetly.

What To Do If You Find Someone Else’s AirTag

Thanks to Apple’s focus on privacy, you can’t access personal information about an AirTag that isn’t registered to you. But if you find someone else’s AirTag attached to an unknown device or piece of property, here are some options:

  • Tap and hold the top of the AirTag to trigger a sound that may help find its owner nearby.
  • Check Find My app for any contact info the owner provided.
  • Take the AirTag to the nearest police station or lost and found so the owner can locate it. Do not remove the battery.
  • If the AirTag is on an unfamiliar item in your possession, tap and hold the top to cause it to play a sound. This will alert you to its presence in case someone slipped it into your bag or pocket without consent.
  • If you feel the AirTag is being used to track you without your knowledge, continue carrying it with you. After 8-24 hours, your iPhone will automatically notify you and provide instructions to disable the unknown AirTag.
  • You can manually speed up the process of identifying an unknown AirTag by opening Find My app, selecting the Items tab, and looking for an AirTag with an “Unknown Item” label. Tap it for options to play sound, disable, or inspect serial number.
  • Disabling the AirTag will interrupt its ability to track but still allow the owner to locate it for retrieval. Only remove the battery if you feel threatened.
  • If you disable an AirTag not belonging to you, try to leave it in a public lost and found location so the owner has a chance of recovering it after it comes back online.
  • Do not attempt to locate the owner yourself as this could be dangerous if the AirTag was being used maliciously. Let law enforcement investigate as needed.
  • You have the right to disable any unknown tracker that is moving with you. But avoid tampering with or destroying AirTags you happen to find detached from any property.

Responsible use and privacy are top priorities with AirTag. Following this guidance helps ensure everyone feels comfortable with AirTag tracking in their community.

If you find a detached AirTag, use an AirTag cash strap or AirTag glasses case to safely carry it to the nearest lost and found.