Apple opens its Find My network to third-party companies, allowing your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to locate non-Apple things ↺
One of the best things about Apple’s ecosystem is the Find My system that can locate a lost or stolen device and make it sound an alarm, lock it to keep data safe, or remotely wipe it. However, the worst thing about this system is that it’s only available for Apple’s devices like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks. Until now.
Today, Apple announced that it was opening up its “Find My” network to third-party companies, allowing them to manufacture new products that could tap into Apple’s location services and share their location via the Find My app or iCloud.
The new initiative is part of Apple’s Made for iPhone, or MFi, Program, which holds compatible devices to stringent standards. In this case, products that work with the Find My network will adhere to Apple’s privacy protections and will be clearly labeled with a “Works with Apple Find My” badge, among other points. Some products will also work with newer iPhones’ Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology for more precise location tracking.
VanMoof, Belkin, and Chipolo are the first three companies to sign up for the new initiative. VanMoof’s upcoming S3 and X3 e-bikes will work with Find My, as will Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Freedom True Wireless Earbuds and Chipolo’s ONE Spot item finder.
This style of product location tracking isn’t necessarily new. Companies like Tile have made small location-tracking tags that can be adhered onto or placed within standard items like keys, wallets, purses, and others. However, those companies have all needed a third-party app and often rely on maintaining a Bluetooth connection with a smartphone, meaning the user would need to be within the tag’s tracking range.
Apple’s Find My network can use WiFi or cellular networks to locate items (if the product has the right hardware), allowing users to track a Find My device from virtually anywhere (given that it was able to connect to a wireless network). Opening up the Find My network to third parties is a strong selling point for not only Apple’s products, but “Works with Apple Find My” products as well.
This move may also hint that the long-rumored Apple AirTags may be coming soon. AirTags would make it easy for average consumers to locate simpler products, like wallets or keys, via the Find My network.
What do you think of Apple’s Find My service opening up to non-Apple products? Let us know in the comments.