Stolen AirPods? How to Track AirPods Before It's Too Late

Were your AirPods stolen? We can help! We'll teach you how to find missing AirPods using FindMy and give you other tracking tips. We'll also cover reporting your AirPods stolen to the proper authorities and getting affordable single AirPod replacements in case all else fails!

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How to Find My AirPods Using FindMy

Can you track AirPods? Yes. But you need to enable FindMy on your iPhone in advance. If you haven't already done this, open Settings, tap on your Apple ID at the top, select FindMy, and toggle on Find My iPhone. Read this for detailed steps on how to turn on Find My iPhone, read this. Once FindMy is enabled and your AirPods are set up and paired with your iPhone, you'll be able to track them like this:

  1. Open FindMy on your iPhone. You can also do this on your other Apple devices, someone else’s iPhone, or log into icloud.com on any non-Apple device that allows internet browsing.

    Open FindMy on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to the Devices tab if you’re not already there.

    Navigate to the Devices tab if you’re not already there.
  3. Select the AirPods you wish to find; you may have to scroll to locate the correct ones. My list includes no longer used AirPods and my husband's AirPods that I frequently borrow.

    Select the AirPods you wish to find
  4. If you see them on the map, you’re in luck! If they are near you, tap Play Sound so that you can find them.

    tap Play Sound so that you can find them.
  5. If they are far away, tap Directions.

    If they are far away, tap Directions.
  6. You can pick your mode of transportation, then navigate to the location. If you believe they were stolen, it may be unsafe to go there yourself. Consider contacting your local police department for advice on how to proceed.

    pick your mode of transportation, then navigate to the location
  7. If your AirPods are in their charging case, you will see an image with two AirPods side by side once you tap on them.

    If your AirPods are in their charging case, you will see an image with two AirPods side by side.
  8. If you tap on your AirPods and they are not in their charging case, you’ll be able to track each AirPod bud individually. However, there is no option to track the case unless you have an attached AirTag or another tracking device.

    If you tap on your AirPods and they are not in their charging case, you’ll be able to track each AirPod individually.
  9. If you don't see the location of your AirPods, which can happen for several reasons. If your stolen or lost AirPods get turned on or go online, they may reappear in your FindMy app, so keep checking in regularly.

    If you don't see the location of your AirPods, which can happen for several reasons.

Unlike with other Apple products, you don't have the option of marking your AirPods as lost, and there is no data on them for you to erase to protect your privacy. You should not remove the AirPods from your iCloud account until you've exhausted every search method. Keep reading to see what else you can do to find them!

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Pro Tip: If you’ve lost just one AirPod, both AirPods, or just the case, it can be cheaper to replace the missing part rather than buying brand new AirPods. Learn how to get AirPods and AirPods Pro case replacements here.

How to Find Missing AirPods without FindMy

If you are wondering how to find AirPod cases only, or find AirPods without FindMy enabled, or if they show up as No Location Found on FindMy? Unfortunately, this is a lot more difficult. Basically, your only options are to:

  1. Retrace your steps. Think about where you could have left them; check all your pockets, the washing machine, the spaces between your car seat and console, and anywhere else you may have lost them. They could just be missing or lost, not necessarily stolen.
  2. Ask around your community, put up posters, check Lost & Founds, and post in online forums. Since identifying the owner of found AirPods isn’t the easiest, putting out the word can help facilitate or speed up their return. To learn how to identify the owner of found AirPods, read this
  3. Can the police track stolen AirPods? Not exactly, but reporting them stolen may be necessary for insurance purposes or in case a good Samaritan brings them into a police station. Contact your local police station to get more information on filing a report. Keep in mind that you may need the serial number of the AirPods

How to Protect Your AirPods from Loss & Theft Preemptively

While these tips won’t help you if you’ve already lost your AirPods, they can help protect your future pair! It is always better to be safe than sorry! For more tips, like how to protect all your Apple devices, don’t forget to subscribe to our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

  1. Turn on Left Behind Alerts. These will alert you on your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad whenever you leave your AirPods (or other devices behind.) These alerts can be customized to include exceptions to alerts, such as your home, gym, or office.

    Turn on Left Behind Alerts.
  2. Get a case that lets you attach an AirTag. AirTags can be tracked for a longer time, even if the AirPods are off, or if the case is empty. You can check out our favorite AirTag and AirPod accessories here, but there are many other options out there to suit every style and budget.
  3. Have your case engraved with your phone number, name, etc. I recommend against engraving your address as that could be a security risk, but an engraved case is less likely to be stolen, although the AirPods themselves can't be engraved, so theft is still possible.
  4. Get insurance for your AirPods! Unfortunately, Apple's AppleCare+ does not cover loss or theft for any headphones or earbuds. However, there are third-party insurance companies that cover these as long as a police report is filed. Shop around to see what's best; AKKO is a popular option.

Now you know what to do if your AirPods are lost or stolen. Unfortunately, the best option is FindMy, which must be enabled before your AirPods go missing. Using AirPods trackers such as AirTags is also an option. Next, learn how to reset stolen AirPods; this can help you understand what will happen if someone steals or finds your AirPods. Ironically, the best way to find an AirPod's owner is to use them!

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.