How to find AirPods if they were lost: a full guide

Updated: February 14, 2023
6 min read
How to find AirPods if they were lost: a full guide
by Peter Davis
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

All AirPods have detection and search features in case you lose them. By using geolocation and an Internet connection on your connected device, you can easily track your headphones on a map. You can also play a beeping sound on the accessory to detect it by ear.

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The newest models can appear on a map even when your gadget is not connected to the Internet or is far away. This is possible due to the "Locator Network" feature, which lets AirPods to communicate with other Apple devices. Please note that only the 3rd generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max support this technology.

To find your headphones, you can also use the Locator app on iOS devices and Macs, the Find Devices app on the Apple Watch, and the web version of Find iPhone in iCloud in any browser. In fact, they have the same features and allow you to view the location of the accessory, turn on the beep, and lay a route to the last recorded location.

But don't forget: neither inside the charging case nor inside the headphones themselves, there are no GPS modules. The search is possible only when the headphones are connected to one of the Apple devices. Thus, to have your headphones connected to your iPhone, you should have them outside the case.

If the headphones are in a case with the lid closed, all you will see is the last place and time their signal was detected. You cannot track a lost case or a single headphone.

How to find AirPods if they were lost but are still turned on

How to find AirPods on a map

All AirPods support geolocation tracking. If the headphones are connected to a device, you will see their current location. Or in case they are discharged you will be able to track their last place of activity.

  1. Open the Locator app, click the Devices tab, and tap AirPods.
  2. After updating the data, you will see their current or last recorded position on the map.
  3. If the AirPods are in different locations, only one of them will appear on the screen. Locate and place it in the case, and the geo-position of the second earpiece will appear on the map.

How to find AirPods by the beep

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If you know that your headphones are somewhere close but you just can't see them, audio detection can help. This feature is supported by all AirPods, but will only work if the iPhone sees the headphones and can connect to them.

  1. In the Locator app, open the Devices tab and select your AirPods.
  2. Tap "Play Sound". The volume of the signal increases gradually, but it is still quite sharp. Therefore, when searching for one earphone, it is better to remove the other earphone from your ear or mute it with the corresponding button.

How to find AirPods by Bluetooth signal at close range

How to find AirPods by Bluetooth signal

If you have the 3rd generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max headphones, you can use the pinpoint search feature. In this case, the Locator app on the iPhone will analyze the Bluetooth signal strength and provide visual clues as to where to search the headphones, in the "hot/cold" spirit.

Please note: the "Locator Network" function must be enabled beforehand ("Settings" → "Apple ID" → "Locator" → "Find iPhone" → "Locator Network"). Afterward, follow a simple algorithm.

  1. Open the Locator app on the iOS device to which the headphones are tethered.
  2. Select your AirPods in the Devices tab and tap the Find Nearby button.
  3. Follow the clues on the screen, which will show you the right direction.

How to find AirPods using an Android smartphone

AirPods can be used not only with iPhones but also with Android devices. In this case, they will work like regular Bluetooth headphones, and all the exclusive features, including map search, will not be available. The only option to find lost AirPods via Android is to play a clearly distinguishable sound in them.

Of course, this is only possible if the smartphone is able to detect the headphones and connect to them. That is, you must be within a radius of 10-15 meters. This means that this method is suitable only if the AirPods were lost in the apartment.

To find your headphones by sound, open the Bluetooth settings, connect to your AirPods, and then turn on whatever sound you want to search for. Remember to turn up the volume, otherwise, you probably won't hear anything.

How to find AirPods if they are discharged

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Unfortunately, if the headphones are discharged or are just inside the case, finding them will be a problem. In both cases, you will see only their last location. However, if someone finds them and plugs them into your iPhone, you will get a notification.

  1. To view AirPods geo-position, open the Locator app and tap Headphones on the Devices tab.
  2. You will see the address and approximate location on the map. To create a route, press the button with the same name.

What to do if you can't find AirPods

If you have 3rd generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max and can't find them, try turning on the Missing Device Mode.

In that case, if someone finds them and tries to connect them to their smartphone, you will receive a geolocation notification and the person will see your contact information and be able to contact you to return the accessory. In addition, the Missing Mode locks your AirPods and guarantees that no one will use them without your consent.

Launch the Locator app and select your AirPods in the Devices tab.

  1. Under "Mark as Missing", tap "Activate".
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen to enter your phone number and leave a message asking for your headphones back.

If your search is unsuccessful, you can always buy the left or right earpiece and the case separately. All components are interchangeable, the main thing is to use accessories of the same model and generation. When buying missing parts of the 3rd generation AirPods and AirPods Pro by hand, keep in mind that they may be tied to the previous owner's Apple ID and that they thus must first remove them from the Locator network.

If you have 1st generation AirPods and some older iPhone versions, you can rename the headphones with your phone number in the device name ("Settings" → Bluetooth → ℹ️ AirPods) as insurance and to increase your chances of return.

How to avoid losing your AirPods

How to avoid losing your AirPods

Thanks to a special function, you can set automatic reminders that will work once you forget your headphones in an unfamiliar place and move away from them at a certain distance (about 100 meters). This will only work with the 3rd generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max provided that you have an iPhone 12 or newer model.

  1. To receive notifications, open "Locator" on your iPhone and select the headphones in the device list.
  2. Under "Notifications", tap "Notify When Forgotten".
  3. Here you can also add exceptions for certain places if you wish.
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