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How to find your AirPods in the snow. Seriously.

AirPods
AirPods (Image credit: Rene Ritche/iMore)

My ears have been mangled by years of grappling: Almost no earbud will stay in longer than a few seconds. AirPods, Apple's wireless earbuds, however, are different — they stay in just fine 90% of the time. Still, when the winter snow started to pile up here, I began to worry. What would happen if I dropped one of those snowy white AirPods into actual white snow?

And, as I was taking a few photos in the woods, it happened — I dropped one between the slats of a bench and it fell straight into a big pile of fresh snow. And disappeared.

PANIC.

Then: Troubleshooting opportunity!

How to find your AirPods in the snow

There are two options for finding lost AirPods in the snow: Find My AirPods, or the musical variation.

Find My AirPods

If you've accidentally misplaced one of your AirPods, iOS 10.3 and Apple's Find My iPhone app will let you hunt it down as long as you're within Bluetooth range.

How to find lost AirPods

Play music to find your AirPods

If you drop one of your AirPods and can't see it and want to immediately seek it out without worrying about the Find My iPhone app, here's what you do:

  1. Pull up Control Center.
  2. Swipe to the Now Playing tab.
  3. Tap Sources at the bottom.
  4. Tap AirPods.

  1. Crank the Volume.
  2. Listen for your AirPod(s).

I did this when I lost mine, and immediately heard the missing earbud. After a few torturously long seconds of raking my ungloved fingers through the snow, I felt it and fished it out!

PANIC AVERTED.

I've toyed with the idea of adding some bright red tape to the stems of the AirPods to make them more visually apparent in the snow, but I'm not sure how that'd affect their balance in my ears yet. I may test that hack next.

Your AirPods tips?

Even if your AirPods stay in your ears 100% of the time, winter chill and gloves could mean you drop one while putting them in or taking them out. So keep this in mind, and if you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Updated January 2018: Added tips for using Find My AirPods.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

25 Comments
  • The Tauntaun in the background is priceless. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yup, nice touch, Rene!
  • He's so useful in the snow!
  • Their guts can keep you warm if you survive Wampa attacks on Hoth too :) Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • I am dealing with a similar issue right now.. I lost my rowkin mini plus yesterday between the 10 places I visited running errands. I tried using a Bluetooth scanner app with no luck. I am guessing it fell out of my jacket pocket. So I am hoping that a find my iphone feature comes with with a future set of Bluetooth earbuds, other Bluetooth devices or provided thru a dedicated app. Similar to features that the Lookout app provided..
  • Ugggghhh. Good luck!
  • Put a spot of red (or any colored) nail polish on each bud to see it in the snow.
  • Racing stripes!
  • I was thinking of tape but I like that better!
  • Two options:
    1 - Guerrilla glue in the ear keeps them from falling out.
    2 - Move to Phoenix. I never have that problem :)
  • Yes, I'd imagine adding AirPods to Find My iPhone could be done with just a software update since most hardware requirements are in place (Bluetooth, speaker, iCloud integration). The limitations are lack of cellular/wifi and the loudness (or lack thereof) of the AirPod speaker. But as long as the lost AirPod is within Bluetooth distance and detected off-ear, a tone, selected to be as loud and clear as possible without blowing the speaker, could broadcast through the AirPod's speaker. If lost AirPods becomes a common thing I'd imagine a future rev could integrate something like an LED light that would flash along with a tone.
  • Or just a giant BEEP button.
  • Lol! Turns out iOS 10.3's Find My AirPods is pretty much exactly what I speculated above. This makes me happy:)
  • Can't wait to read honest reviews of how well these stay in Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • i'm going to chuckle if someone devises a cable to hold the together.
  • That's already available!
  • Hey Renee, Have you tried wearing earmuffs over the AirPods? I use Degrees, the ones that wrap around your head. They earmuffs work fine with the regular Apple EarPhones. I don't like it when my ears get cold. LOL
  • http://promo.spigen.com/product/iphone-7-iphone-7-plus-airpods-strap-copy/ Sent from the iMore App
  • Not a tip, but a question: Can you controll music playback on other apps than Apple Music? I'm thinking of selecting next or previous track in apps like OverCast, Spotify, etc. In my test using Siri on wired headphones, I can only get her to turn the volume up or down in these apps.
  • Boom!
    Spigen AirPods Strap Never Lose Your AirPods PATENT PENDING iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 Plus Air Pods Strap Wire Cable Connector for Apple Airpods - Exclusive for Apple iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 Plus https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LVZ4SXN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_chivybC2XW84M?ta...
  • lol.... sure,, blast your eardrums out,. I thought the Airpods became distorted if u loose one of them,, thus the delay... Or is that a myth?
  • Actually, that is a perfect shot of Rene getting worried... :)
  • Sorry, but I don't know nice way of saying this - that BS advice is wrong. The AirPods do not play unless they are in your ears if one fell out the music stops if you take the other one out to try to listen for the music that one stops. I own a pair, and one slipped out in the kitchen yesterday so I put my granny glasses leash on each one until I get a spigen leash or croakies leash
  • I have an AirPods case with a magnet in the case, and a lanyard loop, also I have a tile Bluetooth tracker attached to the case for reassurance.
  • I wonder how soon cellular trackers similar to ‘Ping’ are going to be available? https://pinggps.com/