Find My iPhone App lets me down when it comes to finding my AirPods

Shortly after receiving my AirPods, they became an indispensable part of my daily commute and office routine. In many ways, AirPods really are a quintessential Apple product. They’re simple in concept and pretty close to flawless in execution*. They simply work. Listening to music and podcasts on them is a joy, and I love using them on calls. Therefore, you can imagine my distress when I lost them for a day.

It all started with my first phone call of the day, my AirPods were nowhere to be found. I had to grab an old pair of EarPods. After the call, I retraced my steps. I distinctly remembered using them in the car. I was pretty sure I had them in my ears when I arrived home after a morning meeting. After that, my mental trail went cold.

Fortunately, you’re supposed to be able to use the Find My iPhone app to hunt down your AirPods. So I fired up the app, and it showed their last known location as right around the garage. That would have been when I got home that morning.

Starting in the garage, I kept pinging my AirPods via the app. I went through our entire house; however, they were out of range. Finally I gave up.  As the day went on, I started entertaining thoughts of buying another pair. Since they retail for $159 and take 2-3 weeks to ship, this was a depressing thought, but it goes to show how handy these things had become.

Fortunately there was a happy ending to this story. The next morning I was on the phone lamenting about my lost AirPods while talking with a colleague. As I was pacing my office, I happened to move two WIRED magazines, and there were my AirPods!

I was both elated in finding the AirPods and sorely disappointed in the capability of Find My iPhone’s AirPod tracking. I’d already been through my office a couple times sending out pings to my AirPods; however, those two magazines were enough to block the Bluetooth signal from getting through. Though great in concept, using Find My iPhone to track down a pair of AirPods is a subpar experience, I’ve found that I practically have to have the AirPods in one hand with my phone in the other to get a ping.

* AirPods work great with my iPhone; however, pairing them directly with my Apple Watch is another matter.