Apple ‘Find My’ App To Locate Third-Party Items

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Wireless earbuds, electric bikes, and other third-party products can now be tracked or located using Apple’s ‘Find My’ app

Apple has refreshed its ‘Find My’ iOS app on its iPhone handsets, to include the ability to track and locate non-Apple items and products.

Apple announced on Wednesday that the updated Find My app on its iPhones, will now allow third-party products to “use the private and secure finding capabilities of Apple’s Find My network.”

First third party products that will work with the Apple app include wireless earbuds from Belkin, electric bikes from VanMoof, and bluetooth trackers from Chipolo that can be placed onto or into items (wallet, backpack, toolbox, household keys etc) that needs to be tracked.

Find My app

“For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of Worldwide Product Marketing.

“Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program,” said Borchers. “We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilizing this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create.”

Apple said that third-party products must adhere to all the privacy protections of the Find My network.

Approved products can be added to the new Items tab and will feature a “Works with Apple Find My” badge to clearly communicate to users that the product is compatible with the Find My network and the Find My app.

The Find My app of course works on the iPhone, but also the iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

Until recently it has been used mainly as way to keep track of other Apple devices, friends, or family members.

If an Apple device is lost, the Find My app allows a person to locate it on a map, play a sound to pinpoint its location, put it in Lost Mode to lock it immediately, and display a message with a contact number.

It also lets them remotely erase the device in case it has fallen into the wrong hands.

When a third party item has gone missing but is nearby, users can play a sound on their Find My-enabled product to pinpoint its location.

Tile complaint

The release of the updated Find My app is sure to invite scrutiny from privacy campaigners and other firms that sell rival tracking services.

It should be remembered that in June 2020, Tile, a maker of Bluetooth-based locator devices, accused Apple of abusing its control over the iOS platform to disadvantage competitors.

In its complaint to the European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Tile accused Apple of disabling features that make Tile as easy to use as Apple’s competitor, Find My.

Apple denied Tile “equal placement” with competing Apple products on its online App Store, and ended an agreement to sell Tile products in bricks-and-mortar Apple Stores.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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