The Find Nearby update, which is available to download now, means lost AirPods Pro and AirPods Max can now be tracked down via other Apple devices out in the wild (via 9to5Mac).
While AirPods have always been discoverable within the Find My app, users will now be able to locate them beyond the limits of the last known location and their own Bluetooth connection.
Once the firmware has been updated, users will be able to leverage the vast network of Apple devices owned and operated by other users. That idea is to get users close enough to their lost AirPods in order to reconnect with the Bluetooth signal and summon a sound to zero in.
In this instance, users can ask their companion iPhone to search for a signal, which screenshots outlining the feature advises can takes up to one minute. Once they get into range, users will now be able to see a visual indicator that can guide them towards the products. It’s not quite the UWB tech we see within AirTags, but the blue circle should be enough to show users when they’re getting warmer or colder.
Elsewhere, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max owners can now place their product into Lost Mode, which means those who’ve misplaced them can leave a message containing their name and phone number. That’ll surface if someone else finds and attempts to pair the lost AirPods with their own iOS device.
Apple has been working to improve its Find My app since the launch of AirTags earlier this year, and iOS 15 now supports widget for items (like AirTags or third-party alternatives) and people in your Find My network.
Unfortunately, the original AirPods do not support these new features, but it’s thought the forthcoming AirPods 3 might pack the handy tools for tracking down these expensive accessories.