Apple expands Find My tracking network to third-party accessories
In brief: On Wednesday, Apple updated its Find My app to include support for third-party devices. Formerly known as Find My iPhone, the app can locate virtually any Apple product you own through a network of WiFi, cellular, and Bluetooth-connected devices.
Apple’s new Find My Network Accessory Program expands its tracking network to include products from participating manufacturers. Tracking a non-Apple device works the same way as first-party products. Each item will show up on the Find My map represented by an icon.
Tapping an icon’s device brings up an interface that allows the user a couple of options. If the device is nearby, the app can signal it to play a sound, making it easier to find. If the device is lost or stolen, there is an option to lock it. Once locked, it cannot be paired to another account.
There are a few differences between using Find My with third-party accessories and Apple products. For one, pairing is not automatic. With Apple devices, the Find My app can locate anything signed into the user’s iCloud account, with no setup needed.
The updated app has a new “Items” tab at the bottom for setting up non-Apple devices. Users first make the desired product discoverable, then tap “Add Item.” The app will search and present a list of eligible accessories it finds.
Speaking of eligibility, the Find My Network Accessory Program is an extension of Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program, so manufacturers with upcoming or already certified MFi devices are eligible.
Apple notes that multiple OEMs are launching Find My capable products starting next week. VanMoof’s latest S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom Wireless Earbuds, and Chipolo’s One Spot tracking fob are the program’s first products. We can expect to see more since including Find My compatibility in products that are already MFi is a no-brainer.