After searching frantically and you can’t find your AirPods, you come to the conclusion that they have been stolen or lost.
Now you are wondering can someone use my stolen AirPods? What do I do about it?
Unfortunately, yes, they can.
I will explain to you how it works, what you should do, and if you can prevent it.
How can someone else use my stolen AirPods?
Stolen AirPods can be used by someone else when they pair them with a different Apple product, and you are not going to believe how easy it is.
The pairing with a different product is extremely easy to do. They only need to place them in an earbuds case and hold the setup button long enough for it to reset the earphones. It is the same exact process you would use to reset them in order to solve a software problem.
So even if you have the charging case, someone else can still use your AirPods by placing them in a different case and syncing them to a new apple product.
Can you track your earbuds?
The answer to that question is two-part; if your earphones are still paired with your devices, you can use the Find My app, which is formerly the Find My iPhone app.
To track your earbuds, open the app or access the Find My page after signing in to the iCloud website. Provided your earphones are connected to one of the devices that use Find My, your AirPods should be visible in the list of your devices.
Your earphones must have an active connection to one of your Apple devices to track them. When one or both AirPods are out of the charging case, they make the connection. And within the Bluetooth range of your devices. They also must have enough battery power remaining.
The app works because it places your earphones on a map and allows you to play a sound to locate them. Obviously, this works if you have misplaced your earbuds; however, it probably won’t work if stolen. Even if they aren’t paired to another device already, they are more than likely out of Bluetooth range. The range of Bluetooth for your AirPods is about 33 feet according to Apple but can go up to 100 feet.
There is also the option of a third-party tracking system. However, you need to install the third-party tracker before you lose or the AirPods are stolen. You can attach the third-party tracker to your case. One example of the third-party tracker is tile.
What are the benefits of using the tile mate with your case?
There are several benefits of using the tile mate with your AirPods case.
- Keeps the mate and your charging case together so that if you lose your case or it is stolen, you can track it.
- The mate can still be tracked even if it is out of range of your iPhone or other Apple product. This employs the use of community find. Community find uses other smartphones that have Tile Inc. Mate installed to locate your device.
- If the mate is within 150 feet of your device, you can have it play a sound to either help you find it or scare the burglar.
- You may not want something hanging off your case; Tile Inc. makes a smaller version that you can attach directly to the case or device.
There are the top four benefits of using the Tile Inc, Mate to help prevent loss and theft.
Five tips for prevention of theft of earbuds
Here are five tips to help you keep track of your AirPods, so they do not get stolen.
- If you are not using your earbuds, keep them in their case, so you always know where they are. This not only reduces the chance of theft but also the possibility of misplacing your earphones.
- Decide on one specific spot in the home for your charging case and keep it in that spot only. This will also help you keep track of your AirPods, and you will notice right away if it is missing.
- When using your charging case outside of the home, put your AirPods in it, and place it in a secret pocket that closes in your purse, briefcase, jacket, or put the case in the front pocket of your pants. Why the front pocket? Because it discourages pickpockets, you will feel them reaching into your pocket if you use the front pocket.
- Attach the case to your purse, belt loop, or even your keychain by using a carabiner. But, a word of caution on this, buy a locking carabiner so that it does not accidentally or by a robber, open up, and become unhooked.
- This tip could be hard to follow since the AirPods are a status symbol but don’t flaunt them, and you won’t attract the attention of a robber.
Following those five tips will significantly reduce your chance of misplacing or having your earbuds and case stolen. It will also help you notice the fact that they are gone sooner than if you have to hunt through the whole house, car, and retrace your steps of everywhere you been that day and the previous day.
Can you block your lost or stolen earphones?
AirPods are not cheap, but they join with all your other Apple products, which is great for you; but, it is also bad. They not only pair with all your Apple products, but they can also pair with other Apple products. That means that if they are stolen, the crook can simply pair them with his or her Apple products.
Unfortunately, the best you can hope for is that you can track the earphones as there is no way to block your earbuds.
Is there a way to lock my stolen AirPods?
You may be wondering if you will be able to lock your stolen AirPods so the thief can’t use them.
The answer to that question, unfortunately, is no.
While you can use the Find My app to lock your other Apple devices if they go missing, combine that with an activation lock will make it difficult for the pickpocket to use the stolen Apple products.
What should you do if your earbuds were stolen?
If you are sure that your earbuds were stolen, call the police and file a report. No, you will not get the earphones back; but it may help the authorities catch the thief.
One tip when filing a report with the police it is beneficial if IMEI number and or serial number for your products. When you get the products, write these numbers down in a notebook at home and keep them in a safe place.
The Apple warranty does not cover theft or loss. But, your homeowners or renter’s insurance may cover the AirPods; if not, it will cost you to replace them.
Speaking of replacing the earphones; if you have lost only one, Apple will sell you just one bud. They call it their replacement service. But, it is still expensive, and if you have lost the whole set and or the charging case, it is actually cheaper to buy them off the shelf.
What if they only stole one AirPod?
If they only stole one earbud, you at least can still listen to music, talk on the phone, or watch a movie; but all they need to do is put the one of yours with another to make a pair. Then, put that pair in a charging case and reset the pair.
If you have one left, you can get a replacement one so that you will have a pair again; but as stated above, these are not cheap.
Let’s recap what we’ve learned
Hopefully, you learned how easy it is for someone who has stolen your AirPods to pair those earbuds to their devices, which apps you can use to try to locate your earbuds, the benefits of a third-party system like Tile Inc., and how to prevent theft or loss.
We also helped you with what to do if your earphones, case, or both have been lost or taken.
Following the tips provided in this article can significantly reduce loss or theft if you follow them.
Unfortunately, if your earphones are out of range or in the case which takes them offline while charging, you cannot track, block, or lock the AirPods.
There is, unfortunately, no way to stop a thief from using the stolen airpod with their own Apple products, and you will never get them back. But you may be able to help the police catch the thief by providing all the information you can, including the IMEI number and or serial numbers.
Also, we told you that you might be able to claim the loss on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
Go enjoy your AirPods with less worry about what to do, to protect your airpods, and continue enjoying them for years.