Now you can use Apple’s Find My app to track down items that aren’t made by Apple.
The company announced today that it has expanded its Find My network to third-party gadget makers. Those manufacturers can now build products with support for Find My, allowing users to find their non-Apple belongings on the network where support is included. Apple said newer products that will have this capability will be available starting early next week. Support for non-Apple products in the Find My app was first spotted in the third beta for iOS 14.5.
The first manufacturers to include support on new products include VanMoof, Belkin, and Chipolo. For VanMoof, both its S3 and X3 e-bikes will have support on the Find My network, while Chipolo’s One Spot item finder and Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds will also be supported. They’ll be located under a new Items tab within the Find My app.
Of course, Apple is extending support in the most Apple way possible. As part of its Made for iPhone (MFi) program, Apple says that third-party gadgets “must adhere to all the privacy protections of the Find My network that Apple customers rely on. Approved products can be added to the new Items tab and will feature a ‘Works with Apple Find My’ badge to clearly communicate to users that the product is compatible with the Find My network and the Find My app.”
Apple additionally announced today a draft specification for gadget makers to utilise Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple products, and that will launch later this spring.
“For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement. “Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program. We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilising this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create.”
As a person who misplaces my gadgets frequently — my AirPods Pro, my iPhone, my various TV remotes, keys, you name it — I can appreciate wider support on non-Apple products. It would have been nice to see expanded support on more products at launch, though. I’m personally planning neither to buy nor lose an e-bike anytime soon.
As for why Apple is rolling out support for Chipolo’s One Spot ahead of the launch of its long-anticipated AirTags launch, our best guess is that Apple’s trying to prove it’s not an antitrust villain. But listen, until AirTags finally do arrive — which, who knows when the heck that’s going to be — I’ll take it.