'Find My' feature caused refurbisher company to shelve over 30,000 AirPods

Airpods 3 buds without case
Airpods 3 buds without case (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's "Find My" feature is causing issues for refurbishers and third-party retailers.
  • The feature, if turned on for a pair of traded-in headphones, prevents a company from reselling them.
  • One refurbisher has had to stockpile over 30,000 AirPods because of the issue.

If you recently traded in a pair of AirPods and forgot to disable the "Find My" feature for them, you may have unintentionally contributed to a growing problem.

As reported by Insider (via 9to5Mac, Apple's "Find My" feature for AirPods is causing havoc for refurbishers and third-party retailers who have taken used AirPods with the intention of reselling them. According to the report, one refurbisher said that the issue has caused the company to "stockpile more than 30,000 affected AirPods over the course of just a few weeks."

Users who purchase a pair of AirPods still tied to another user's Apple ID, which is enabled by the "Find My" feature, will receive the following message:

The earbuds of your AirPods are linked to a different Apple ID, possibly because one of the earbuds is mixed up with someone else's AirPods. Learn how to solve this issue by going to the article online.

One company said that eight in ten AirPods they service have the issue. Another has stopped refurbishing and selling AirPods entirely.

goTRG, the aforementioned company that handles returns for Walmart and other retailers, says that this issue affects "about eight in 10 AirPods that come through the company's six facilities." Another company that sells refurbished AirPods on sites like Amazon, R2Cell, was forced to stop selling refurbished AirPods altogether because of the problem.R2Cell, which sells refurbished electronics on Amazon, eBay, and other sites, stopped refurbishing and selling AirPods entirely after it encountered the issue in December, according to CEO Sunny Mohammad. AirPods were already difficult to refurbish, he said, because they have many small and easily-damaged parts.

Both companies said that they have reached out to Apple but have not heard back with a solution yet. While we wait to hear of a solution, please remember to remove your AirPods from "Find My" before you part with them.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.