iOS 13's offline device finder already helped recover a lost iPad

find my
find my (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A Wi-Fi-only iPad was lost at LAX.
  • It was located using the new Find My offline features.
  • The owner was able to retrieve it successfully.

With the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Apple will introduce the updated and renamed Find My app. Part of the update includes the ability to locate devices even when they are offline. And it's already done its job with one Reddit user locating a lost Wi-Fi-only iPad at an airport.

The story goes that the person lost their Wi-Fi-only airport at Los Angeles International Airport and appears to have given up hope of finding it. However, the next morning they were greeted by two notifications saying that the iPad "has been seen". After returning to the airport they were able to locate and then retrieve the lost device.

The way this is made possible is pretty mind-blowing. Users mark their devices as lost and then other peoples' iPhones, iPads, and Macs effectively start looking for them via an encrypted Bluetooth signal. If a lost devices is spotted, its location is then sent back to Apple which in turn forwards it to the Apple ID that the device is registered with.

What makes this case even more amazing is the fact that iOS 13 iPadOS 13, nor macOS Catalina are available yet. That means this was all made possible via beta software and that someone running a device with that software installed must have gotten close enough to register the missing iPad's location.

When your luck's in, you don't question it!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.