So, you’re walking down the street, and you spot a white, shiny object on the ground. Upon closer inspection, you realize that it’s a pair of AirPods! Your heart races with excitement as you consider the possibilities.
You approach the earbuds cautiously, eyeing them with a mix of curiosity and suspicion. Are they broken? Are they lost? Are they just a cleverly disguised trap, waiting to ensnare the unwary?
There are many related questions you may have, including:
- Can I contact the AirPods’ owner?
- Can the owner see the AirPods location?
- Can I reset the AirPods and use them?
In this article, we’ll explore what to do if you find a pair of AirPods, including whether you can contact the owner, whether the owner can see the AirPods’ location, and whether you can reset the AirPods and use them yourself.
Can I contact the AirPods’ owner?
The good news is that it’s possible to contact the owner of lost AirPods, as long as they’ve set up the Find My app on their iPhone or other Apple device. The Find My app allows you to track the location of your Apple devices, including AirPods, and even play a sound to help you locate them if they’re lost.
If you are using an iPhone:
- When your iPhone gets near the AirPods (assuming they are charged), a message should show up on your phone. It usually will just display the name of the AirPods and that they are not yours. However, someone may have decided to use their AirPods name, usually something like Dave’s AirPods, to instead give more information, such as a phone or email.
- Many of the AirPods models can be put into Lost Mode (AirPods (3rd gen), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd gen), AirPods Max). When this happens, a message should appear on a nearby iPhone. The Lost Mode message should contain contact info.
To see if the owner has set up Find My, simply open the AirPods case and check if they’re connected to an iPhone or other Apple device. If they are, you can try to use the Find My app to locate the owner. Here’s how:
- Open the Find My app on your own iPhone or other Apple device.
- Tap on the Items tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Scroll to the bottom of the Items list and tap Identify Found Item and check if there is any information on the AirPods.
If you’re able to locate the owner using the Find My app, you can try to contact them and let them know you’ve found their AirPods.
Can the owner see the AirPods location?
If the owner has enabled the "Find My" feature on their iPhone, they can see the location of their lost AirPods on a map in the Find My app. This can be a useful tool for locating lost AirPods, especially if they were misplaced in a large area like a park or shopping mall.
Someone who has lost their AirPods and is using Find My should be able to at least see the last known location.
For AirPods Pro (2nd gen): The charging case can also be located if it is separated from the AirPods.
- For AirPods (3rd gen), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd gen), AirPods Max:
- They may be able to be located even if their iPhone isn’t connected to Wi-Fi or cellular.
- The owner can get a "left behind" alert soon after separating from them.
- The AirPods can use the Find My network. This means the AirPods can ping off of nearby Apple Devices to transmit their location to the owner.
- The AirPods can be put into Lost Mode. This means if someone finds the AirPods, a message will appear on their iPhone. This message can contain an email or phone number.
However, there are some limitations to the "Find My" feature when it comes to AirPods. First, the AirPods must be within Bluetooth range of an iPhone or other Apple device in order to show up on the map. If the AirPods are out of range, their last known location will be shown instead.
Second, the location accuracy can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the strength of the Bluetooth signal and whether the AirPods are in their case or not. In some cases, the location may be accurate within a few feet, while in others it may be off by several yards.
Can I reset the AirPods and use them?
Now, let’s say you’ve exhausted all your options for finding the owner of the lost AirPods, and you’re left with a dilemma: can you keep them and use them as your own? Technically, yes, you can reset the AirPods and pair them with your own iPhone or iPad. However, doing so could be considered unethical and potentially illegal, depending on the circumstances.
First and foremost, if you find a pair of lost AirPods, the right thing to do is to try and return them to their owner. Imagine if you lost a valuable item like AirPods – wouldn’t you want someone to make an effort to return them to you? By keeping the lost AirPods and using them as your own, you’re depriving the owner of their property and potentially causing them financial loss.
Furthermore, if you find lost property and don’t make a reasonable effort to return it to the owner, you could be charged with theft or larceny. The laws regarding lost property vary by jurisdiction, but in general, if you find lost property and don’t make a good faith effort to return it to the owner, you could be charged with theft.
That being said, there are some situations where keeping the lost AirPods may be more reasonable. For example, if you found the AirPods in a public place with no identifying information, and you’ve made a reasonable effort to find the owner with no success, it may be more justifiable to keep them.
If you do decide to keep the lost AirPods, you should still be cautious about resetting and pairing them with your own device. Resetting the AirPods will erase any data stored on them, including the owner’s settings and preferences.
Please note: for AirPods (3rd gen), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd gen), or AirPods Max, the AirPods need to be removed from the owner’s Apple ID before they can be added to a new owner’s Apple ID. This also removes the Find My Lock. This must be done by the AirPods’ owner.
To reset the AirPods, follow these steps:
Put both AirPods in their case and close the lid.
Wait at least 15 seconds.
Press and hold the button on the back of the case until the LED light on the front starts flashing white.
Release the button and wait for the LED light to turn amber.
Open the lid of the case and bring it close to your device.
Follow the instructions on your device’s screen to pair the AirPods with your device.
Keep in mind that resetting the AirPods will erase any data stored on them, such as custom settings and pairing information. Additionally, if the AirPods are linked to an Apple ID, they may be locked and unable to be reset without the owner’s permission.
If you find a pair of lost AirPods, your first course of action should be to try to contact the owner and arrange to return them. If you are unable to do so, you can open the "Find My" feature on your own Apple device to Identify Found Item and see if there is any information on the AirPods and help facilitate their return. Resetting the AirPods and using them without attempting to return them to the owner first is not ethical and could be considered stealing. Remember, the right thing to do is to always try to return lost items to their rightful owner.