My Solution to Lost AirPods: Apple Needs to Add AirTags' U1 Chip

Commentary: AirTags plus AirPods should equal a lot less frustration.

The points of praise for Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro are easy to find: simple pairing with Apple devices, solid battery life, lightweight case, good mic performance for calls. Even the design, once ridiculed, has aged well and no longer looks out of place.

One thing that's really bad, though, is how hard it is to find these small white buds or their pocketable case when they are inevitably lost.

As someone who has been an AirPods and AirPods Pro user for years, I can't count how many times I've misplaced my buds. I'm not a particularly forgetful person and would like to think I do a fine job keeping track of my devices, in general.

AirPods, however, are just a different animal, as I experienced yet again on Thursday morning. I completely forgot where I left them, so I opened the Find My app on my iPhone 13 Pro Max, thinking I could ping them.

Mistake No. 1: Apple's Find My App is great for finding missing iPhones, iPads, Macs or AirTags. It can be horrendous for finding AirPods.

The app showed that they were in my apartment, which was certainly reassuring as it meant I didn't lose them while walking to play basketball at a nearby gym the night before. (Apple does have a "notify when left behind" feature that's nice, but not applicable to my situation.) At times, though, that is the only bit of useful information the app provides.

Tapping "play a sound" did nothing as AirPods in the case can't always play audio — and it can be incredibly hard to hear when they do. Apple has a "Find Nearby" option for AirPods, but that can be similarly worthless for finding encased buds since the connection to other devices isn't consistently active.

If one bud is lost, this actually can be useful as it uses Bluetooth, so it can help guide you in the right direction and the sound played from the AirPods is noticeably louder. In this instance, however, not so much. Unlike with the iPhone, iPad, AirTags, Apple Watches or the Mac, Apple's Find My app also doesn't show a battery life indicator for AirPods... so you have no idea how much charge remains before even those hints disappear

I spent over an hour and a half turning my apartment inside out trying to find them. I searched through boxes, checked every pocket, looked inside the couch cushions, lifted said couch and emptied out my laundry bag. Nothing.

After giving up all hope and stepping away from searching to do some work, they miraculously reappeared under the couch as I was putting the room back together.

Read more: 10 AirPods Pro Tricks You Should Be Taking Advantage of Every Day

While my latest episode had a happy ending, looking through Twitter I see I am far from alone in losing Apple's earbuds. A cursory search for "lost AirPods" finds countless examples of others sharing similar frustrations.

As rumors persist that Apple has a new version of AirPods Pro in the works for late 2022, I have a simple request: Apple, please put a U1 chip inside them so we can find the damn things more easily.