Apple today released a firmware update for its AirPods Pro and AirPods Max that introduces new options for finding the pricey products if you happen to misplace them. These capabilities were first promised for iOS 15 but didn’t quite make the launch; thankfully, it didn’t take Apple much longer after that to roll them out. Both 9to5Mac and MacRumors reported on today’s release.
Using Apple’s Find My app, it was already possible to view the location where your AirPods were last paired with your iPhone or play a sound to make them easier to dig out of the couch cushions. But this new update greatly expands that functionality. Now you can activate Lost Mode and have millions of other iPhones, iPads, and Macs aid in the search should your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max go missing. If they come within Bluetooth range of another Apple device, you’ll be alerted to their location.
Apple has also added an AirTags-like “Find Nearby” user interface for tracking down a set of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max if you know they’re somewhere close. Since there’s no U1 chip inside Apple’s earbuds or headphones, it’s not quite as precise as with an AirTag; you don’t see the arrows pointing you towards them, but the onscreen prompts will show statuses like far, near, or “here” when you’re right near them.
Also super helpful: you can now automatically receive a notification if you leave your AirPods behind somewhere. Apple’s support page on the Find My network explains the various features and how they work.
Unfortunately, Apple still doesn’t offer any straightforward way to update AirPods firmware. It just sort of happens randomly when they’re connected to your iPhone. But you can at least check what version you’ve got to see if you’ve got these latest features. If you’re on iOS 15, here’s what to do:
- Go to Settings on your iPhone or iPad
- Tap the Bluetooth section
- Tap on the “i” icon next to your AirPods under “My Devices.”
- There you’ll see a “version” field that shows which software you’re running.
The new update that offers the improved Find My capabilities is version 4A400, so look for that. As for the regular AirPods, they’re still limited to the more basic functionality that was present before. But whenever the long-rumored third-generation AirPods make their debut, hopefully those will also offer the more robust location tracking.
Update October 27th, 11:30AM ET: The article has been updated with revised instructions for checking your AirPods firmware on iOS 15.