Apple AirPods are amazing, but they do have one big weakness: they’re extremely easy to lose. If you’ve lost one of your AirPods, you don’t have to resort to the classic “retrace your steps” method just yet – there is another way.
To find one Airpod, the only effective method for locating it is to use Apple’s FindMy app. If your missing AirPod is within Bluetooth range and still has battery, you can find it’s approximate location in the app and isolate the AirPod by playing a high pitched sound through it.
This guide will break down your best options for finding your missing AirPod earbud, and give advice on what to do if you can’t find it.
You might not find your AirPod
Before we get too deep into this article, I want to temper your expectations: if you lose just one of your AirPods, there’s a chance you aren’t getting it back.
If you came here hoping for mad-up, secret methods of finding a lost AirPod, I’m afraid to say there aren’t any.
That’s not to say it’s impossible – it is possible to find your lost AirPod – it’s just that you shouldn’t be expecting a magical solution, because that does not exist (regardless of what others say).
There are only two ways to find a missing AirPod: using the FindMy App or carefully retracing your steps.
I’ll explain the FindMy App below, as well as all of the options you have if you can’t find that missing AirPod.
How to use the FindMy App to locate a lost AirPod
Apple’s FindMy app is one of the most valuable and useful apps around – no kidding. If you lose any of your Apple devices, the FindMy app is almost always able to track them down.
Opening the FindMy App should be the first thing you do when you notice your AirPod is missing.
If it’s got any battery life left (which is likely, since you probably haven’t been streaming audio to a missing AirPod and draining it), you should be able to locate it.
- Open the FindMy App on your iPhone or computer (there is both an app for Mac and a desktop version)
- Tap “Devices”
- Find your AirPods in the list of devices that pops up, and tap them.
- If your AirPods are still in Bluetooth range, they’ll show up on a map, and you’ll see the option, “Play Sound”. Tap that button. Hint: you can mute the left or right AirPod by clicking on it! This will help you track down just the one you lost.
- Your missing AirPod will start to make a sound, allowing you to pinpoint its location.
It’s simple if your AirPod is in Bluetooth range, but what if it isn’t? What if, for example, you lost your AirPod at the gym and you’re already back at home?
When your AirPods are outside of your phone’s Bluetooth range but still have battery, you’ll be able to see their Last Known Location on a map.
If they’re still at your office, the gym, or the park, you’ll be able to see that on the map to narrow down your search.
Once you get back within Bluetooth range, there’s even a chance that it will reconnect and you’ll be able to use the “Play Sound” feature to pinpoint where it is.
Even if it doesn’t reconnect, having an approximate location for your missing AirPod is better than having no information at all.
Situations where the FindMy App isn’t helpful
As great as the FindMy App is, it has its limitations. If you run into these limitations, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to find your missing AirPod.
Some of the limitations of the FindMy App:
- Dead AirPods: If your AirPod is dead when you lose it, you may not be able to find them. There is a small chance the “Last Known Location” will be available, but that isn’t a guarantee.
- Disconnected AirPods: If you turned off the Bluetooth on your phone before you lost your AirPod, the tracking info will be either unavailable, or inaccurate, making it very hard to find your AirPod.
- FindMy Not Set Up: This is probably the biggest weakness of the FindMy App. It isn’t activated by default for any of your devices; rather, you have to set up the FindMy App for every single Apple Device in your collection. If you forget to set it up? You won’t be able to find your lost AirPod at all.
How to set up FindMy for your AirPods
Because failing to set up the FindMy App for your AirPods is the best way to guarantee you’ll have a horrible time tracking them down, I wanted to share the process for getting your FindMy app set up:
- Open your iPhone’s “Settings” app.
- Tap on your name
- Select “Find My”.
- Choose Find My AirPods
- Tap the toggle switch to turn on Find My for your AirPods.
You should repeat this process for every Apple device you own, so you can always find your things if they get lost or stolen.
Note: if “Find My” is greyed out for you, follow these steps to enable it.
How to replace one AirPod without buying a new set
Now, it’s time to deal with the unfortunate outcome that many attempts at finding a lost AirPod result in: having to buy a replacement.
Even though many AirPods owners can find their missing earbud, there are still lots of us out there who just don’t have that kind of luck.
But, before you go looking for a completely new set of AirPods, you should know that you don’t have to buy an entire set if you lose only one earbud.
If you lose one, or both of your earbuds (or your AirPods charger), you can buy a replacement on the Apple website. The cost of a single earbud is about $70 for standard AirPods and $90 for the AirPods Pro.
It’s not exactly a cheap solution, but it is way better than having to buy a brand new set of AirPods.
But, if you do want new AirPods…
In mid-October 2021, Apple released the third generation of AirPods, and a new generation of AirPods pro.
Here’s a brief rundown of the new features in the newest iteration of Apple AirPods:
- Increased water and sweat resistance
- Spatial audio, a feature that provides a “three-dimensional” listening experience
- Longer battery life
- Wireless charging (not new for AirPods Pro, it has always had wireless charging)
- Redesigned earbuds are sleeker and smaller
- Adaptive EQ, a feature that tunes music to the shape of your ear using tiny sensors
All those new features add up to what amounts to a brand new listening experience with AirPods.
So, why am I bringing this up?
Simply because the new AirPods are a significant improvement, and losing one of your earbuds might be a great excuse to upgrade if you’ve got the cash.
Also, because there’s a new generation of AirPods, the older models are going to get a little bit cheaper, making it a little easier to stomach a lost earbud.
Does AppleCare+ for AirPods cover loss or theft?
No – AppleCare+ will only pay for loss or theft if you have that additional coverage activated on your iPhone.
No standard AppleCare plan offers loss/theft coverage, and it’s only available as an upgrade on AppleCare+ for iPhones.
If you lose part or all of your AirPods, there will be no warranty help coming from Apple.
You’ll either have to use the FindMy App, carefully retrace your steps, or buy replacements to get back to listening.
If you’ve lost one of your AirPods, there is no better way to find it than with the FindMy App. You’ll be able to use the app to track its approximate location and play a high pitched sound through it.
If the app lets you down, your own detective skills are all you’ve got left.
Finally, replacing one of your AirPods is relatively cheap – that is, if you don’t feel like springing for the latest generation of AirPods (and this might be a great excuse to treat yourself)!
Were you able to find your AirPod? Have any tips for other readers on using the FindMy app? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!