Apple is losing track of which AirPods are mine, which could point to a broader issue with iCloud’s ability to reliably link devices to its own via unique IDs

You may have heard about the brohaha about Apple’s AirTag device in recent months. This lightweight tag, which Apple sells for $29, attaches to almost any object to help keep track of things. They can also be glued to something or just slipped into a pocket or purse.

As a result, malicious parties have in some cases used the device to keep tabs on people, leading Apple to take action to warn its customers if an AirTag is detected in their presence placed there by a malicious party could become, e.g. B. Thrown into a book bag.

I’ve been experiencing a strange and related phenomenon over the past few weeks: Apple mistakenly thinks my stuff is tracking me.

I’ve repeatedly received a notification on the screen of my iPad mini that reads, “AirPods Pro detected: An AirPods Pro has been moving with you for a while. The owner can see his location. You can play a sound to help you find it.” When the alert first appears, it gives you the option to let the alert run or turn it off.

The point of caution is that just like AirTags, other i-Devices, including AirPods, can be slipped into a person’s pocket or pocket and used as a tracking device to track the person’s movements.

Likewise: Apple plans to make it easier to find unwanted AirTags

In this case, however, the warning is completely false. These are my AirPods Pro that I have owned for years as I have been able to verify by playing a sound on the AirPods with the iPad.

Apple’s tech doesn’t know these are my own AirPods. The strange behavior appeared in February.

I’m not the only one with this annoying false positive. The AirPods support user forum shows several people with the same frustration over the past few months.

“Annoying warning from Find My iPhone” writes Fufi1973 on April 18 on Apple’s discussion forums.

Fufi continues

I keep getting an alert that I have an AirPods Pro that doesn’t belong to me. I’ve tried forgetting and resetting it multiple times. It still happens several times a day. I am angry. I get it on my phone and iPad every time I open the case and use my AirPods. I play the audio to make sure it’s really mine and it’s really mine.

There are numerous examples of this.

“I have my Airpods and they connect to my phone, but a notification pops up saying Airpods Pros have been detected around you and they are my Airpods. So what can I do to reset them?” writes Manny321_13 on 04/12

Users have also reported the issue of their AirTags not being recognized.

Likewise: When you lose use of Apple’s iCloud, you lose more than just storage space

“I keep getting notifications that an Air Tag is near me, but it turns out to be my tag. Shouldn’t my phone tell the difference?” writes Joe Thomas 3 on February 8th.


In each of these cases, the suggestion offered is to reset the device, AirTag, or AirPods, whatever is misbehaving.

It’s bitterly ironic since many of the posts on Apple’s AirPods support user forum are of the “Lost my AirPods” type, asking for help on how to find AirPods. (Note: To purposely keep track of your own AirPods, you must have an iCloud account and have the Find My feature enabled for the AirPods in question.)

Likewise: Apple closed my iCloud account for five days, no warning, no explanation, no apology

Several inquiries to Apple Public Relations went unanswered at the time of writing. It’s worth noting that Apple has posted a note that promises “a number of updates we plan to roll out later this year,” including something like “precision finding” for AirTags and “refining unwanted tracking alert logic.”

The notice does not mention any unwanted warnings.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Apple’s software doesn’t always recognize my AirPods as my own. The way AirPods connect — or don’t connect — is a common source of frustration in my experience.

Likewise: Remember when Apple seemed to know about its own products?

I have an iPhone, a MacBook, two iPad Pros and the iPad mini. They all want to pick up the AirPods as their Bluetooth output device at certain times.

This can lead to real comedy when the device I not grabs the AirPods, blocking them from the device I really want to use the device with.

A common example is when I leave the house with the iPhone in my pocket and one of the AirPods and say, “Hey, Siri, call Tommy.” connected to my phone.

And so I get the message back that Siri can’t make a call right now. I then have to take out the iPhone and select the AirPod for it to connect.

The result is that AirPods have a lot of options but don’t know what you really want to do.

Likewise: One thing Apple is sure to announce at WWDC (and almost certainly will be four more)

What can one conclude from this? The fact that more than one type of device is experiencing the same issue, both AirTags and AirPods, suggests that the problem is larger than individual device types. In addition, the fact that the problem occurs sporadically suggests that something breaks down regularly.

And the fact that iCloud ties AirTags and AirPods to an owner via a unique ID suggests the issue is less of a Bluetooth issue and more of an issue with iCloud services. It is conceivable that iCloud regularly loses the association between devices and unique identifiers.

All of this is conjecture. Without Apple’s answer, we can only guess. Apple hosts its annual developer event, WWDC, June 6-10. Maybe that will bring some clarity.

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