Ever since Apple announced the AirPods during its September 2016 event, one of the biggest questions has been "What happens when you lose one?" as at £159/$159 for the pair and £69/$69 for a replacement, the wireless earbuds aren't cheap.
One developer got to work on creating a solution and released Finder for AirPods on the App Store shortly after the AirPods launched in December 2016, however, Apple took it down only weeks after release. According to the developer (via MacRumours) Apple claimed that it didn't like the 'concept' of people finding their AirPods and was deemed 'not appropriate for the App Store' - and we now understand why.
How to locate lost AirPods with Find my iPhone
Apple introduced Find my AirPods within the Find my iPhone app in iOS 10.3. It works via Bluetooth, and the good news is that the AirPods don't have to be close for you to find them – although they do have to be in range of an Apple device signed in to your iCloud account.
To do this, simply open the Find my iPhone app on any iOS device running iOS 10.3 or later (or via iCloud.com) and select your AirPods from the list. If your AirPods are close to one of your Apple devices, the live location will be displayed in-app, along with a handy button that’ll help you locate them.
You can tap Actions and then Play Sound in the AirPods section of the Find my iPhone app, forcing your earbuds to start chirping and thus making them easier to locate.
But what if you've only lost one bud, and you have the other in your ear? Don't worry, you won't be deafened: the app gives you the control to mute either earbud, and even if somebody has it in the ear, the volume will gradually increase as to not cause immediate discomfort.
But what if both the earbuds and the case are dead? While you won't be able to get a live location, the app will pinpoint the last location that it could detect a Bluetooth signal.
Hopefully this combination of features will allow you to locate your lost AirPods. If you’re sure you can’t find them, your only option is to contact Apple and get a replacement sent out. (Here's how to replace a lost AirPod.) Happy searching!
Lost AirPods case
What can you do if you've lost your AirPods charging case? The case is required for charging and pairing the AirPods, so if you don't have it your AirPods are essentially useless once they run out of charge.
Unfortunately, Find My AirPods won't locate your case if your AirPods aren't inside, so how can you track the case down?
Short of looking down the sofa and checking the bottom of your bag one more time, you may have to turn to Apple to get a replacement.
On its website Apple states: "If your AirPods or Charging Case get damaged accidentally, you can replace the damaged item for an out-of-warranty fee. If you lose an AirPod or your Charging Case, we can replace your lost item for a fee. If we need to replace your AirPods or Charging Case, your replacement will be new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability."
We suggest that you contact Apple or visit an Apple Store and ask for a replacement case.
If you found your AirPods and discovered they were in the washing machine/toilet/garden then you might be interested to read our article all about whether Apple AirPods are waterproof.
You may also want to know what devices are compatible with AirPods.
And if you have AirPods, and are experiencing the random disconnecting problem, read this: How to fix AirPods disconnecting from iPhone.