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, as well as anything attached to an AirTag tracker, 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.
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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 $2,198 each, have been compatible with Find My since 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.
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, and preorders begin sometime during the week of May 10. 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. And Beats headphones that have the W1 or H1 chip may be supported. Apple's site lists these as definitely working:
- Beats Powerbeats Pro ($169.99)
- Beats Solo Pro ($229)
- Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless ($137.99)
- Beats Flex ($39.99)
But it's also possible that the Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3 Wireless, Powerbeats, and Powerbeats Pro models will work since they have the correct Bluetooth chips. Apple hasn't mentioned support for any other Beats models, but there's only one way to find out if yours works: test it out. As long as your Beats are connected to your iPhone, and you have Find My turned on, they should automatically appear in your Items list. If not, they aren't supported.
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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