Apple’s secure Find My network is used by millions of customers around the world to locate their Apple devices and now the Silicon Valley-based brand is opening the platform up to third-party products with the new Find My accessory program.
How does the Find My network work and is it private?
The Find My network uses crowdsourced data from Apple devices to detect missing products and report their location back to the owner. Private information is never shared with others and all third-party manufacturers will have to adhere to Apple’s privacy rules.Apple has created a dedicated ‘items’ tab inside the Find My app on iOS 14.3 or later for third-party products, although the tracking experience is no different to a regular Apple device — Items can be tracked on a map with the option of playing a sound to help locate.
That’s in addition to ‘Lost Mode,’ which lets users label a product as missing. Essentially, this locks the product to an Apple ID so others can’t pair it with their devices. It can notify other Find My users when found and give them a message and phone number to help the owner retrieve their item.
To ensure customers know which products are compatible with the Find My network, compatible devices will have a ‘Works with Apple Find My’ badge.
Which products work with the Find My network?
Third-party products that work with the Find My app will be available starting next week. Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are the first three companies taking advantage of the new program, but Apple promises that more accessories will be available ‘soon.’
Belkin Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds
Apple’s AirPods work with the Find My network, but if you’re not a fan or want something more affordable, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds could be the perfect Find My-compatible earphones for you.
They retail at $99.99 in the US and offer environmental noise cancellation, a fancy way of saying they cancel out background noise in calls, plus support for auto pause and play when the earbuds are taken out of ears.
Belkin has thrown in sweat and splash resistance too, in addition to Qi wireless charging support. Speaking of charging, the earbuds offer 8 hours of battery life on a single charge and 28 hours total battery life with the accompanying charging case.
Chipolo One Spot Bluetooth tracker
Apple was expected to announce its in-house AirTags tracking tags, but that didn’t happen. The company is instead promoting the ‘special edition’ Chipolo One Spot Bluetooth tracker that works exclusively with the Find My network.
Like the regular Chipolo One, the One Spot offers a decent 12-month battery life and a replaceable battery. Water resistance and a 120dB ring for when you’ve lost your item are included too.
There’s no official word on the Chipolo One Spot pricing yet, but shipments are slated to start in June.
VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bikes
Proving that Apple’s Find My network can be used for all sorts of products, not just small accessories, new VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bikes will be compatible with the Find My network, meaning users will be able to locate their bikes with their iPhone.
To add the bikes to Apple’s Find My app, users simply need to open the VanMoof app and tap the ‘Add to Apple Find My’ option. Both VanMoof e-bikes start at $1,998 in the US.
Tracking future products will be even easier
In addition to opening up the Find My network to third-party brands, Apple has announced plans to introduce a new specification for chipset manufacturers that’ll enable compatibility with the Ultra Wideband tech found inside U1-equipped Apple devices like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
Ultra-Wideband is the tech Apple’s AirTags are expected to use. It enables a much more precise tracking experience, so finding future items should be a lot quicker and easier.