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Apple expands its Find My network so it can locate third party devices

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Apple has expanded its Find My network – which is used by customers to locate their iPhone, MacBook, AirPods or Apple Watch – to now include third party products.

The private and secure finding capabilities which have reunited customers with their Apple products that had been lost, stolen or left behind  can now be used to locate and keep track of products from Belkin, Chipolo and VanMoof.

“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,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

“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.”

The Belkin SOUNDFORM Freedom True Wireless Earbuds

Find My is part of the Made for iPhone (MFi) program and give accessory developers the ability connect an existing or new product to the Find My network.

But these third party products must adhere to the strict privacy protections.

Third party vendors can also take advantage of Ultra-Wideband Technology in U1-equipped Apple devices which offer a more precise and directionally aware experience.

The Chipolo ONE Spot item finder

Belkin’s new SOUNDFORM Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, the Chipolo ONE Spot item finder and VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes (VanMoof is not yet available in Australia) are the first wave of devices which will work with Find My.

The Find My app makes it possible to locate your missing Apple devices on a map and even play a sound to help you pinpoint its location.

Users can also put the device into Lost Mode to lock it and display a contact number and message for anyone who happens to find it.

The FindMy network is a crowdsourced network that uses millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth to detect missing devices nearby and report their location back to their owner.

This process is encrypted end to end and anonymous so no one can see the device’s location but the owner.

I used this feature when I left my iPad Pro on a plane after landing back in Sydney from the US a couple of years ago.

On the map I could see the aircraft was still at the gate and I immediately called Qantas to get someone to retrieve it for me before the plane was turned around and left Australia again.

After alerting Qantas they sent a person onboard to look for it and I was able to play a sound to help them locate it and return it to baggage services for me to collect later.