Apple Find My Network Accessory for third-party device manufacturers launched

Apple has announced the launch of its Find My Network accessory, which lets you track third-party Bluetooth devices via iPhone, iPad and Mac using the preloaded Find My app. The Cupertino giant also brought an updated Find My app that has a special Items tab to allow its customers to easily find and track all compatible third-party devices. Apple has initially partnered with Belkin, Chipol and VanMoof to bring their new eligible devices to the Find My network program from next week.

Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True wireless headphones, Chipolo One Spot item finder, and VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bikes will be the first independent products to be compatible with Apple’s Find My network. However, Apple has opened the field for other manufacturers and products as well.

Apple’s Find My app now lets you locate and track third-party devices
Photo: Apple

Apple said that any accessory developers who want to connect an existing or new product to the Find My network can join the Find My network accessory program, which is part of the Made for iPhone (MFi) program. Third-party devices must comply with all privacy protections of the Find My network, the company said.

Customers will be able to add approved devices from the Find My Network accessory to the Items tab in the Find Me app. These devices will also be able to have the “Work with Apple Find My” badge.

Apple also unveiled a draft specification for chipmakers that will allow independent device makers to take advantage of Ultra Wideband technology offered on Apple-equipped U1 devices, including the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 series, to offer a more accurate, directional device. tracking the location nearby. A draft specification will be released later this spring.

By launching the Find My Accessories online program and updating the Find Mine app with the Items tab, Apple has given its customers the same experience of locating their missing third-party accessories that they previously had to find missing Apple devices. The Find My app allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to find lost items on a map, play a sound that will determine its location, and put it in a lost way to lock it right away. The app also allows you to view a message with the contact number of the owner, and even remotely delete data from a lost device in case it fell into the wrong hands.

In addition to the Find My app, which allows you to track the location of devices connected to the Internet, Apple has a Find My network that allows users to find their missing devices even if they are not connected or could not connect to the Internet. It acts as a network with hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing devices or objects nearby and report the approximate location to the owner.

Apple claims that the entire process of locating and tracking devices via the Find My end-to-end network is encrypted and anonymous, so that no one else, not even the company itself or an independent manufacturer, can see the location of the device or information.

As a result of the latest update, standalone devices can be added to the Find My app on an iPhone running iOS 14.3 and later, an iPad on iPadOS 14.3 and later, or a Mac device based on macOS Big Sur 11.1 and later .

Apple brought the last major update to the Find My app in 2019, when it combined the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps together as a unified app. This update is enabled via iOS 13, and was also available on Mac devices via macOS 10.15.

The ability to track lost items via the Find My app offers a recognizable advantage to Apple over Android devices that do not currently have a similar original solution. Samsung, however, is trying to take over Apple’s Find My with its SmartThings Find which expanded with the release of the Galaxy SmartTag in January.

However, a special experience through the Find My app got Apple in trouble last year – when Bluetooth tracking device maker Tile and other companies accused the iPhone maker of abusing its market power to put their competing solutions at a disadvantage.

Apple also says it will develop its own Bluetooth tracker called AirTag that could get similar offers from Tile and other companies. However, with the introduction of Find My Network Accessories, it’s becoming interesting to see what Apple would bring to its home offering in terms of providing a different experience compared to similar third-party Bluetooth labels.

What will be the most exciting technology presentation of 2021? We talked about this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you have your podcasts.