AirPods are tiny little things, and like most tiny little things, they’re easy to lose. Under the right circumstances, you can currently find AirPods with Apple’s Find My network, but it looks like that’s going to get a lot better with iOS 15 (for AirPods Pro and Max anyway).
As of now, if your AirPods (any model) have been connected to your phone recently, you can find their last-known location using Find My. If they’re not in the case and within Bluetooth range, you can also use the app to make them play a sound. This is great if you lose them at home, but not much help if you lose them elsewhere.
Now, 9to5Mac has found new evidence that AirPods Pro and Max will get Precision Finding (improved location tracking) in iOS 15 by linking to your Apple ID. Essentially, Pro and Max will be able to ping other Bluetooth devices in range to offer a location even when they’re not connected to your phone. If that sounds familiar, it’s for good reason—this is very similar to how AirTags work.
It doesn’t sound like it’ll be a perfect system, however. Unlike other Apple devices, compatible AirPods won’t have an activation lock. That means if you lose them and someone else finds them, there’s nothing to prevent those AirPods from being reset and connected to another phone (or account).
The other downside, as mentioned, is that this won’t work for first or second generation AirPods (non-Pro). Here’s to hoping the third generation AirPods support the feature.