Apple has announced that its Find My network is now available to accessories that are made by third-party companies for the first time. The Find My network has long made it possible for people to find iPhones, iPads, and accessories made by Apple but that is now being made available to others, too.
Apple is rolling the Find My network into the Made for iPhone (MFi) Program, with accessories also able to take advantage of the U1 chips used in Apple devices when locating others, too.
Part of the Made for iPhone (MFi) Program, the Find My network accessory program is designed for any accessory developer looking to connect an existing or new product to the Find My network. Third-party products must adhere to all the privacy protections of the Find My network that Apple customers rely on. Approved products can be added to the new Items tab and will feature a “Works with Apple Find My” badge to clearly communicate to users that the product is compatible with the Find My network and the Find My app.
Today Apple is also announcing a draft specification for chipset manufacturers that will be released later this spring. With this, third-party device makers will be able to take advantage of Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple devices, creating a more precise, directionally aware experience when nearby.
Accessories from VanMoof, Belkin, And Chipolo already support the feature which requires iOS 14.3 or later in order to work. Users will be able to open the Find My app and then locate items as if they were made by Apple. Notably, devices and accessories won’t need to be connected to the internet in order to be found.
The Find My network extends these capabilities by locating missing devices even if they can’t or don’t connect to the internet. The Find My network is a crowdsourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing devices or items nearby, and report their approximate location back to the owner. The entire process is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so no one else, not even Apple or the third-party manufacturer, can view a device’s location or information.
This all comes as Apple is said to be building its own Tile-like trackers, dubbed AirTags, with a launch possibly coming as soon as this month. AirTags will live alongside accessories from other companies inside the Find My app.
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