Apple is officially opening its Find My tracking network to outside companies (as it promised last year). Now any hardware manufacturer can add software support for Apple’s localized network to find missing items – as long as they’re playing. Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) accessory rules.
The first line of items to track now starting today include VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s SoundForm Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, and the Chipolo One Spot tracking tag – all of which can now rely on Apple’s crowdsourced Bluetooth network (that includes millions of iPhones, iPads and Macs).
Starting today, users can add those devices to the updated Find My app and track them through that app in the same way they would track any missing Apple product.
Apple says third-party devices wishing to add support must request accessories authorized through the company’s MFi program and “comply with all the Find My network privacy protections that Apple customers rely on.” Approved products will receive a new ‘Works with Apple Find My’ badge to let customers know that they are compatible with the Apple network.
In addition, Apple announced that it would offer a chipset specification to third-party hardware companies to integrate with the Ultra-Wideband systems in Apple’s more recent phones for even more accurate tracking in the future. It has also long been rumored that Apple is working on its own AirTags product, which would provide similar UWB-based tracking.