I’ve found AirPods. Can I use them on my iPhone?

So, you’ve picked up a set of AirPods and can’t figure out who the owner is. Do you keep them? And, if you do, can they work on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod?

Will the owner be able to track them? What if you don’t have the case? These are just some of the questions that you and many others might have asked yourselves about AirPods.

Well, wonder no more because all the answers are outlined below. Keep reading to learn more.

What happens to lost AirPods

In the unfortunate incident that one loses their AirPod(s), the first step is usually to try and recover them. This can be done using the Find My iPhone feature which supports AirPods (must be iOS 10.3 and above). You could use the Find My app or log in to your iCloud account on a PC.

Find My AirPods on your iPhone

Once you open the Find My app or log in to iCloud, you should see your AirPods listed with your other iOS devices. Next to the devices, you will see colored dots which indicate the device’s status.

  • Blue – This shows the device you’re using
  • Green – This shows that your AirPods are online
  • Grey – This means your AirPods are offline, out of range, inside their case and the case is locked, or out of battery

When you click on the AirPods and they have the green button, a map will show you their exact location. In this case, the AirPods are usually within Bluetooth range, actively connected to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, out of the case, and have battery power. Plus, the Find My feature must have been turned on before the AirPods disappeared.

If you still can’t find the Airpods, you can select “play sound” to help locate them. The sound gets louder as it plays and continues for two minutes straight. If you are only looking for one of the AirPods then you should mute the one in your possession.

Similarly, if the AirPods are misplaced at different locations or you have one of them, the Find My map will show the location of one AirPod at a time.

Therefore, you must place the one that you find in the case, lock it, then refresh the map to see the location of the other AirPod.

What if the AirPods are offline?

The biggest challenge comes with trying to find lost Airpods that are offline. It could be they have been stolen and turned off, or they have no power. If it is the latter, then the Find My feature will come in handy as it usually shows the last connected location of the AirPods.

However, if they have been taken and are offline then you should just budget for a new set because Apple has no other service that can help to track AirPods apart from Find My.

Can someone use stolen AirPods? Unfortunately, yes. Unlike other Apple devices, which can be locked using the Find My app when they get lost, AirPods security doesn’t have this option.

Therefore, you can’t prevent them from being connected to a different iPhone. Whoever picked them only needs to reset the AirPods, connect them to their iOS device and they are good to go.

How to reset AirPods

For this action, you must have the AirPods case.

  • Look for the “setup” button on the case and press and hold for a minimum of 15 seconds
  • Hold until the status light flashes amber a couple of times before flashing white
  • Once the white appears then the AirPods have been reset
  • You can now pair them with any device

As much as one needs a charging case to reset and pair Airpods with a new device, they don’t need the original case. It could even be that the case was picked from a different location and each of the AirPods from various other areas. They can still be paired and work with any iOS device.

Lastly, do AirPods have GPS? No, they don’t. Their small size and battery constraints limit the setup of a built-in GPS connection. That is why tracking them requires your phone’s GPS and Bluetooth.


From the information above, it is evident that you can easily use AirPods which you have just picked. There is no security feature preventing you from owning the pair of Airpods. Unfortunately, this also goes the other way round should you lose your AirPods.

Thieves are likely to take full advantage before Apple figures out a way to lock Airpods like the other devices. Until then, you are better off securing your AirPods than waiting to track them down when they go missing. Make sure they are safe, especially when they are not being used.