Earlier this week, Apple released a new app to help developers and device makers test out tracking their devices using the official Find My network. Now, Apple has made that support officially official.
On Wednesday, Apple announced that it has updated the Find My app to support third-party accessories. The brand new Find My accessory program will enable users to track third-party devices within the updated Items tab. This means the Find My network can now track devices and accessories not only designed and made by Apple (or Beats)
That means companies like Belkin, VanMoof, Chipolo, and others can now use the Find My network, supporting Apple’s first-party tracking feature for Apple users.
Per today’s announcement:
For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program. We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilizing this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create.
With the broad launch of the Find My accessory program, Apple says any third-party device maker can take advantage of the secure network if they so choose. Of course, they’ll need to follow Apple’s rules for the program and network, and create Made for iPhone (MFi) Program-approved products.
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.
That’s not all, though. Apple today also confirmed that it is rolling out a draft specification for chipset manufacturers to utilize the Ultra Wideband technology in some devices. The U1-enabled devices allow for more precise tracking, and Apple will open this up for third-party companies as well.
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.
The first products
As Apple notes in its announcement today, there are only three companies with accessories and devices ready to go at launch. VanMoof has a pair of e-bikes that are officially MFi-approved for the Find My network, with the S3 and X3 models approved for the Find My network.
Chipolo makes small tracking devices, similar to the oft-rumored AirTags, that can now take advantage of the Find My network as well.
And finally, the already announced Belkin SOUNDFORM Freedom True Wireless Earbuds.
In the end, Apple adds:
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 has been a long time coming, but now the wait is finally over. Technically. Third-party companies still need to get products out there that support the Find My network, but this is a good start, at least.