Apple's Find My app just got way more useful. While it's great for locating a lost or stolen iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Mac, and AirPods, it's even better now that it works with third-party accessories and gear.
It's a big deal since you could combine all of your trackable Bluetooth accessories into one location-sniffing app that's private and secure. It also opens up third-party manufacturers to Apple's newer crowdsourced Find My network, which leverages other people's Apple products to help locate your missing items. "Offline Finding" was first released in iOS 13 and has since been rebranded "Find My network."
The Find My network is huge and works globally, with "hundreds of millions of Apple devices" active, according to Apple.
The Find My network accessory program is a part of Apple's Made for iPhone (MFi) program, and any third-party manufacturer can jump on board with new or existing products. Developers in the program can add a "Works with Apple Find My" badge to their products when approved, making it clear that it's Find My ready. And soon, they will be able to leverage Ultra Wideband technology for more precise device coordinates.
Apple is also announcing a draft specification for chipset manufacturers that will be released later this spring. With this, third-party device makers will be able to take advantage of Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple devices, creating a more precise, directionally aware experience when nearby.
You can track third-party accessories and gear from the new "Items" tab in the Find My app, which first appeared in an iOS 14.5 beta update but has since gone live on iOS 14.3 and later.
VanMoof's S3 and X3 e-bike models, which are available to buy right now for $1,998 each, will be compatible with Find My beginning April 15. They already have onboard alarms and smart location tracking in the VanMoof app, but it's nice to have everything consolidated in Find My so you can track locations from one place.
Belkin is coming out with a new Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds that will last all day, has dual mics, uses advanced environmental noise cancelation, and gives you deep bass with clear mids and highs. The charging case will work with Find My out of the box, but they won't be released until sometime in June. These earbuds were first announced at CES 2011 early this year and will retail for $99.99.
Apple's own AirTags are likely coming very soon, but the company has already approved item-finding smart tags from a third-party manufacturer called Chipolo.
The new Chipolo ONE Spot is just like its current Chipolo ONE trackers, but it only works on the Find My network, so the Chipolo app is for all of the other tracking tags it makes. These trackers are good for finding your keys, backpack, purse, gym bag, jacket, luggage, and other items you can throw it in or tie it to. The ONE Spot will be available sometime in June for an undisclosed price. The current ONE trackers go for $25 each (cheaper with multipacks), so it might be similarly priced.
Yes, Apple owns Beats, so it's no surprise that Find My will work with these accessories. That means headphones that have the W1 or H1 chip are likely supported. That includes Beats Flex, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Solo Pro, Beats Studio3 Wireless, Powerbeats, and Powerbeats Pro models with the correct Bluetooth chips. Apple didn't mention Beats in its third-party accessories press release, but some of these models were found to work in the iOS 14.5 betas before iOS 14.3 and later received the Find My update.
Right now, those products are the only ones that have announced support for the Find My network, but there are sure to be many that follow. One that may not work with Find My anytime soon is Tile, which has been overly critical about Apple opening up Find My to third-party accessories and making its own unconfirmed AirTags trackers. As for others, only time will tell, but some guesses could be made by looking at developers already in the MFi program.
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