Back at WWDC, Apple said expanded FindMy integration was coming for AirPods in iOS 15. Now, Apple is delivering on that promise with a firmware update that gives you more options if you lose track of your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max.
The FindMy network works by leveraging Bluetooth on millions of Apple devices. So, if an Apple gadget were to detect a missing device nearby, it reports that location in the FindMy app. The firmware update makes it so that the AirPods Pro and Max can now be a part of that network. However, since they lack the U1 chip, it’s won’t be quite as precise as what you get with AirTags.
Previously, you couldn’t do much in FindMy other than see your AirPods’ last known location or play a sound. Helpful, but as anyone who’s lost an AirPod can tell you, it’s not ideal. Initially spotted by 9to5 Mac, the new firmware enables a feature similar to the Precision Finding that Apple introduced with the AirTags—but not quite. For starters, there’s no arrow pointing you in an exact location. Instead, it’s sort of like a digital Marco Polo where you can visually see whether you’re near or far from the AirPods. (You can check out screenshots of what that looks like here.)
The update also lets owners mark their AirPods Pro and Max as missing via Lost Mode. That allows users to leave a contact number and message, in the event someone else recovers the device. Another helpful update: You can now get notifications if you leave your AirPods behind.
Of course, to get these features, you need to update your AirPods’ firmware. The bad news is that updating AirPods can be a pain as there’s no straightforward way to do it. It just... sort of automatically happens when they’re connected to your phone and charging. You can however check if you have the newest firmware. If you hop on over to Settings, scroll down to Bluetooth devices, and then tap the blue information icon next to the AirPods. Scroll down to the About section and check the version number. If you have the new firmware, you should see 4A400.
Unfortunately, these new features don’t work with regular AirPods. Perhaps that’ll change with the rumored AirPods 3—whenever they arrive.