Can Reset AirPods Be Tracked?

The ability to track your devices is a crucial feature in the age we’re living in. The booming smartphone and electronics market makes it more critical than ever to be able to find lost or stolen devices. But there are also some security concerns that go with that, like the question about who else can track you. So we have to ask, can reset AirPods be tracked?

It is impossible to track your AirPods once they have been reset. This feature is built-in so that you cannot follow someone if you sold or gave away your AirPods. Unfortunately, this also means that if someone steals your AirPods, they only have to reset them to keep you from finding them.

These two functions, the ability to track your AirPods and reset them, are equally important but appear at odds. The one defeats the purpose of the next. Let’s look at the resetting and tracking functions of your AirPods and AirPods Pro to know what options you have and how to keep your devices safe and secure.

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How To Easily Reset Your AirPods And AirPods Pro

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Occasionally, you may want to reset your AirPods or AirPods Pro, especially if you plan to sell them or give them away. You may also have lent them to a friend or family member, and now your AirPods are linked to their iCloud account, meaning they can track you or cause a beeping noise in your ears.

Luckily it’s very easy to reset them to factory settings. Simply follow these steps:

  1. If you’re using 3rd Generation AirPods or AirPods Pro, you will first have to remove them from your iCloud account. Do this by going into your Settings app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, selecting your account at the top, selecting your AirPods from the list at the bottom of the screen, and choosing “Remove Device.”
  • Put your AirPods in their charging case. Close the case and wait for 30 seconds, then open the lid.
  • On your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, go into Settings and choose Bluetooth.
  • Now tap on the circled “I” next to your AirPods and choose “Forget this device.” Tap “Confirm” when you’re asked.
  • Press the button on the back while keeping the lid open. Hold the button in until the light flashes amber and then white – this should take about 15 seconds.

Your AirPods are now ready to go to their new owner.

Can You Track Reset AirPods And AirPods Pro?

Once your AirPods or AirPods Pro have been reset, it is impossible to track them. They will no longer be linked to your Find My app, and all settings will be cleared. Since they are not connected to your iCloud or your device anymore, there is absolutely no way for you to track them. It is terrible to think how easy this makes it to steal AirPods, but it is an unfortunate fact, and there’s nothing you can do.

Can Stolen AirPods Be Tracked?

If your AirPods were stolen, you could track them using the Find My app on your Apple devices like your iPhone, Mac, iPad, or even online by logging in to iCloud. The feature is simple and easy to use. You will see a map telling you exactly where your AirPods are.

There are three catches. First, if your AirPods’ battery life has run out, you won’t see a map with their current location, but you will see their last known location, which could help a bit. Second, your AirPods have to be within 40 feet (10 meters) of one of your Apple devices to be tracked, which is a very short distance, but that cannot be helped due to how small the AirPods are.

The third catch is that if the thief resets your AirPods, you’ve lost your chance to track them, and there’s nothing more you can do.

How Far Can AirPods Be Tracked?

AirPods can be tracked within 40 feet (or 10 meters) of one of your linked Apple devices. When they are out of that range, you will see a last known location, but you will not be able to actively track your AirPods or play sounds from them. They have to be within Bluetooth range of one of your iOS or macOS devices to work.

AirPods do not contain GPS tracking as iPhones do. Neither do they have WiFi or cellular connections. Their only data connection platform is Bluetooth, the same connection they use to receive audio from your device. When this connection is inactive, you simply have no way to determine its location. Bluetooth’s range is 40 feet.  

Can The Police Track Your Stolen AirPods?

The police use the same technology to track devices that we do. Once your AirPods are out of range and you cannot track them, the police are also unable to do so. There have been reports of the police finding a stolen vehicle by tracking AirPods, but that was a fluke due to another iOS device being in the car with the AirPods, so the police could just as easily have tracked that device.

The conspiracy theories that say the police force has some advanced tracking technology that can locate anything, anywhere, are mostly false. If a device doesn’t have GPS tracking capabilities or WiFi or cellular capabilities, tracking it when it’s outside of your Bluetooth range is impossible.

Can I Track My AirPods If Someone Else Is Connected To Them?

If they haven’t reset the AirPods and connected them to their iCloud yet, you can track them to some extent. As long as the AirPods are linked to your iCloud account, it is possible to track them, even if they’re paired with someone else’s Apple device. As long as they are in range, they can be tracked.

Once the person resets them and links them to their iCloud, your AirPods will disappear from the Find My app entirely, and there is no way for you to stop this from happening.

How Do I Turn Off AirPods Tracking?

Turning off AirPods tracking is generally not a good idea unless you plan to sell them or give them away. The tracking feature may be severely lacking, but it’s still better than not being able to track them at all. However, if you’re sure you want to turn off the AirPods’ tracking feature, simply follow these steps:

  1. Put your AirPods in their case and close the lid; this will temporarily disable all active connections to conserve battery power
  2. Now go into your Apple device’s settings to the Bluetooth option and unpair the AirPods
  3. Open the Find My app on any of your Apple devices or online at icloud.com
  4. Select “All devices”
  5. Select the AirPods from the list and click on “Remove from Account”

Now your AirPods can no longer be tracked.

Can Apple Track AirPods With Serial Number?

It is illegal for any company to track any device using a serial number in most countries to protect the buyer from any invasion of privacy. Technically it will be possible for Apple to locate which device your AirPods are connected to using the serial number, and they can then track that device. Still, this information is encrypted, and, as stated, it is illegal for companies to do this.

The purpose of the serial number in this context is mainly to identify if AirPods recovered by the police are indeed your stolen or lost AirPods. Anything more than that is both illegal and unethical. Not even with your permission would Apple be allowed to track your AirPods in this way.

Can You Disable AirPods If Stolen?

iPhones and iPads have a convenient locking function that you can activate remotely using Find My. Making it easy to disable a stolen iPhone or iPad so that it is of no use to the person responsible, except to use as spare parts. But the question is, can this be done with stolen AirPods or AirPods Pro?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is yet another “no.” Keep in mind that AirPods are tiny devices. There is very little room for software or additional processing, and the little bit of space that they have is already taken up. Adding functionality like more robust tracking or remote locking would simply be impractical and make the AirPods so bulky that they would be practically useless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have some unanswered questions? Take a look at our answers below.

Can Someone Remove My AirPods From Find My iPhone?

No, not easily. If you happen to have 3rd Generation or later AirPods or AirPods Pro, they will automatically be linked with the iCloud account that is linked to your iPhone. If someone has access to your phone and knows your passwords, they will be able to remove your AirPods from your iPhone and your iCloud account, but there is no other way for them to do this.

Can You Find The Owner Of Lost AirPods?

Theoretically, Apple should be able to assist with this, but again this is only in theory. On a practical level, it could be near impossible to locate the owner of the AirPods. There are a few basic things you could try, though:

Try to connect the AirPods to your phone via Bluetooth. Many people put their name as the name of the AirPods, and this name will show on your screen when you try to pair them. If they were lost in a semi-private place like a school or office building, this name could help you narrow it down.

  1. Place an ad in the area where you found the AirPods stating that you found lost AirPods. If they can tell you the device’s name or serial number, you will know that they are the rightful owner of the AirPods.
  • As with point one, if you found the AirPods in a semi-private area like a school or office building, you could switch on the AirPods and walk around with them. If the owner noticed that they’re missing and tried to use Find My to locate them, they should be able to spot them when you’re near, and the AirPods could even make a noise when you’re close.

How Do I Know For Sure If My AirPods Are Stolen?

Sometimes it can be challenging to know if your AirPods were stolen or are just lost. There is no 100% clear way to tell since lost AirPods generally end up in someone else’s hands anyway, but if you notice them being missing soon enough, you might be in luck.

First, you have to access the Find My app, either from an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, or through the iCloud website at icloud.com. Click on “My Devices” and select your AirPods from the list.

First of all, if your AirPods are not on the list, that means they’ve probably been stolen and are already linked to another iCloud account.

If you see a green dot, they are online and nearby. You should also see a grey dot with a notification if they’ve run out of battery life.

Lastly, if you just see them with a grey dot, they may be stolen and out of range, or they could just be lost. In that case, the best thing to do is go to their last known location and see if they connect. Maybe you will be in luck and find your missing AirPods.

Should AirPods Have The Same Serial Number?

It depends on the model of the AirPods. 1st Generation AirPods were sold as a unit, so in that case, both AirPods had the same serial number.

With AirPods Pro and all AirPods from the 2nd Generation and onwards, each pod is labeled as a different product, and they should not have the same serial number. If you have 2nd or 3rd Generation AirPods or AirPods Pro and they have matching serial numbers, the chances are that you bought a non-genuine Apple product.

Why Is There An Orange Light Flashing On My AirPods?

A flashing orange light on your AirPods indicates that the AirPods are not correctly paired with your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or whatever device you are using them on; this can sometimes happen. Luckily, it’s an easy fix.

  1. On your Apple device, go to Settings, then Bluetooth, and tap the circled “I” next to your AirPods
  2. Choose “Forget this device”
  3. Place your AirPods back into their case and close the lid
  4. After 30 seconds, open the lid and press the button on the back until the flashing orange light turns white
  5. Hold your iPhone close to the AirPods while they are still in their case with the lid open
  6. When your iPhone shows you the AirPods animation, tap on “Connect”

The flashing orange light should now be gone, and you will be able to use your AirPods again. If the blinking orange light is still there, it could mean a problem with the Bluetooth or that the AirPods are linked to someone else’s iCloud account.

How Far Can My Apple Device Be From My AirPods?

Your AirPods use Bluetooth to connect to your Apple devices, including iPhones. This Bluetooth connection is used for both playing music and tracking purposes.

Bluetooth has a maximum distance of 40 feet (10 meters). Once your Apple device is more than 40 feet away from your AirPods (or less if there is a lot of interference in the area), you will completely lose your connection with them. It happens if your iPhone is charging, for example, and you’re walking around at home with your AirPods in your ears. It’s always best to keep your devices close together to keep them from disconnecting.

Check out: How to Connect an External Microphone to an iPhone: A Complete Guide

Conclusion

AirPods are tiny. They are designed that way on purpose. It’s easy to lose them, especially if you forget that they’re in your ears. It’s almost just as easy for them to get stolen. Unfortunately, due to their size, their tracking capabilities are limited. Understanding what you can and cannot do in terms of tracking will help you prepare for the possibility, but it’s still best to avoid losing them.

References

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207581

https://macexpertguide.com/how-to-track-and-locate-reset-airpods/

https://support.apple.com/en-za/HT209463

https://sortatechy.com/how-can-you-track-lost-or-stolen-airpods/

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250987895

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8593555

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/apple-airpods-help-the-police-find-stolen-car-using-gps-tracking-177840.html

https://www.alphr.com/block-lost-stolen-airpod-used/

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8066311

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/icloud/mmdc23b125f6/icloud

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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