Apple thinks my own AirPods are stalking me

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Apple is losing track of which AirPods are mine, which could indicate a broader issue with iCloud’s ability to reliably associate devices with theirs via unique identifiers

You may have heard of the hubbub on Apple’s AirTag device in recent months. This lightweight tag, which Apple sells for $29, can be attached to most objects to keep track of things. They can also be taped to something, or simply slipped into a pocket or purse.

Consequently, malicious parties have used the device in some cases to keep an eye on people, prompting Apple to take steps to alert its customers when an AirTag is detected in its presence and that it might be there. being planted by a malicious party, such as falling into a book. bag.

I’ve experienced a curious and related phenomenon in recent weeks: Apple mistakenly thinks my stuff is stalking me.

I repeatedly received a notification on my iPad mini screen that said, “AirPods Pro detected: An AirPods Pro has been moving with you for a while. The owner can see their location. You can make a sound to find it. The alert, the first time it appears, gives you options to leave the alert running or to turn it off.

The purpose of the warning is that, just like AirTags, other i-devices, including AirPods, can be placed in someone’s bag or pockets and used as a tracking device to track movement. of the person.

As well: Apple plans to make it easier to find unwanted AirTags

In this case, however, the warning is totally wrong. These are my AirPods Pro, which I’ve had for years as I’ve been able to verify using the iPad to play sound on the AirPods.

Apple tech doesn’t know these are my own AirPods. The strange behavior started showing up in February.

I’m not the only one experiencing this annoying erroneous alert. The AirPods Support User Forum shows several people over the past few months with the same frustration.

“Annoying Find My iPhone alert,” Fufi1973 wrote on April 18, on Apple’s message boards.

Goofy continue,

I keep getting an alert that an AirPods Pro is with me that isn’t mine. I tried forgetting it and resetting it several times. It still happens several times a day. I get angry. I get it on my phone and iPad every time I open the case and use my AirPods. I play the sound to make sure it’s really mine and really mine.

There are many examples of this.

“I have my airpods and they are connecting to my phone, but a notification pops up saying that airpods pro has been detected near you and these are my airpods, so what should I do to reset them? ” wrote Manny321_13 on April 12.

Users have also reported the issue of their AirTags not being recognized.

As well: Lose use of Apple’s iCloud and you lose more than storage

“I get constant notifications that an air tag is near me, but it turns out it’s my tags. Shouldn’t my phone tell the difference?” writes Joe Thomas 3 on February 8.


In each of these cases, the suggestions offered are to reset the device, AirTag or AirPods, whatever is misbehaving.

It’s bitterly ironic, as many entries in Apple’s AirPods support user forum are like “I lost my AirPods”, asking for help finding AirPods. (Note: To intentionally track your own AirPods, you must have an iCloud account and have “Find My” enabled for the AirPods in question.)

As well: Apple closed my iCloud account for five days, without warning, without explanation, without apology

Multiple inquiries with Apple public relations have not been answered at press time. It’s worth noting that Apple released a note that promises “a series of updates that we plan to introduce later this year”, which include something like “precision search” for AirTags and “the refinement of unwanted tracking alert logic”.

The note makes no mention of unwanted alerts.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Apple’s software isn’t always able to recognize my AirPods as mine. The way AirPods connect — or don’t connect — is a common source of frustration, in my experience.

As well: Remember when Apple seemed to know its own products?

I have an iPhone, a MacBook, two iPad Pros and the iPad mini. They all, at times, want to grab the AirPods as their Bluetooth output device.

It can lead to some real comedy when the device I don’t that I want to use grabs the AirPods, thereby blocking them from the device that I would really like to use the device with.

A common example is when I walk out of the house, with the iPhone in my pocket, carrying one of the AirPods, and say, “Hey, Siri, call Tommy.” Unbeknownst to me, the AirPods allegedly connected, unbeknownst to me, to my MacBook instead of my phone.

And so the message I get is that Siri can’t make calls right now. Whereupon, I have to pull out the iPhone and select the AirPods for it to connect.

The result is that the AirPods have plenty of options, but don’t know what you really want to do.

As well: One thing Apple is sure to announce at WWDC (and four more it almost certainly will)

What can we conclude? The fact that the same issue occurs in more than one device type, both AirTags and AirPods, suggests that the problem is bigger than the individual device types. Also, the fact that the problem is intermittent suggests that something is periodically failing.

And the fact that AirTags and AirPods are associated by iCloud with an owner via a unique identifier suggests that the problem is less a bluetooth issue and more an issue with iCloud services. It is conceivable that iCloud periodically loses the association between devices and unique identifiers.

This is all conjecture. Without Apple’s response, we can only guess. Apple will host its annual developer event, WWDC, from June 6-10. Maybe that can provide some clarity.

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