If you have AirPods, you’ve definitely lost them at some point—which is why adding upgraded FindMy support will be a huge relief once iOS 15 drops later this fall. However, to do that, it looks like you’ll have to link the device to your Apple ID.
As with AirTags, iOS 15 will bring Precision Finding to both the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the original AirPods or AirPods 2 will be supported.) While AirPods currently work with FindMy, it’s not always that useful. For instance, you can’t find the buds when they’re in the charging case. Also, if you lose a single bud at home, your only recourse is to play a sound via the FindMy app. And let’s face it, that doesn’t always work super well. Precision Finding, a feature introduced with AirTags earlier this year, would be incredibly helpful.
Code spotted by 9to5 Mac in the fifth iOS 15 beta shows that by linking AirPods to your Apple ID, lost devices can continue to send their location via FindMy—even if, say, a thief paired them to another device. However, unlike other iOS gadgets, AirPods won’t have the option for activation locks.
That said, there will be an option to manually unlink devices in the event you want to gift an old pair to a friend or re-sell them down the line. The method is pretty straightforward with the AirPods Max. All you have to do is hold down the noise cancellation button and digital crown for roughly 12 seconds. The AirPods Pro, however, will require a slightly more difficult method. You basically have to hold your fingers on the speaker holes and press the stem buttons several times. Whether you have to do that for both buds, or just one, is unclear.
This isn’t the only update coming to AirPods. Last week, Apple released a beta version of a Conversation Boost feature. The feature uses computational audio and the AirPod Pro’s beamforming mics to focus on the voice of a person in front of you while toning down potentially distracting ambient noise.
In any case, these things are still in flux and the final version might end up slightly different than what we’re currently seeing in the iOS 15 beta. In any case, we expect the public release of iOS 15 to drop sometime next month, once Apple’s done with its annual fall launch event.