Track your stuff, find your friends, and safely share your location

Take Control of
Find My and AirTags

Glenn Fleishman

Take Control of Find My and AirTags takes you inside Apple’s Find My ecosystem. Once a way to track the whereabouts of your iPhone by having it ping the internet at regular intervals, now Find My encompasses sharing and following people (with permission), much of Apple’s hardware and some Beats audio gear, and new trackers from Apple and third parties (including the AirTag). This book helps you understand how it all fits together, and how to keep yourself safe by preventing, identifying, and blocking unwanted tracking.

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


Since the introduction of Find My iPhone over a decade ago, Apple has made it possible to Find My Nearly Everything. The current ecosystem encompasses people, Apple devices, and low-power, long-life trackers. Take Control of Find My and AirTags takes you through the many parts of Find My so you can configure and refine how you and your stuff is tracked and shared.

The book looks at three different kinds of tracking:

  • People: Learn how to share your location safely, follow others who let you, and send and receive notifications about arrivals and departures.
  • Devices: Apple lets you track the whereabouts of your and Family Sharing group members’ iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Watch, AirPods (all models), and Beats audio hardware (some models). Get to know the ins and outs of enabling Find My and taking remote actions, from playing a sound to wiping your data from a device.
  • Items: Find out how AirTags make use of the crowdsourced network of other people’s Apple devices to help you find a lost or forgotten purse, backpack, or even car, and about third-party devices licensing the technology from Apple.

Also get to know the dangers of Find My stalking and how to identify the risk, deter unwanted tracking from happening, block it if you find it—and report it to law enforcement or get other help.

The book also digs into how Family Sharing interacts with personal and device location sharing and finding, and how to help other people find their lost stuff if they don’t have one of their own Apple devices handy.

Covered operating systems are iOS and iPadOS versions 13 through 15, and macOS 10.15 Mojave through macOS 12 Monterey—and all the new options introduced in the latest releases of each.

Here’s more of what you can find in this book:

  • Find out the difference between device-based Find My tracking and the Find My network.
  • Figure out if your Apple or Beats audio hardware can be tracked just over Bluetooth nearby or via the Find My Network.
  • Experience the joy of playing a sound over the internet or nearby to help find a missing device or item.
  • See the place in Apple’s ecosystem for third-party Find My tracking from Belkin (earbuds), Chipolo (ONE Spot tracker), and VanMoof (ebikes).
  • Control and monitor the way you let others track your whereabouts.
  • Get to know presence, the way you define which of your devices indicates where you are to other people.
  • Learn about the new capability in iOS 15/iPadOS 15 to track an iPhone or iPad even after it’s been erased!
  • Dig into Apple’s efforts to prevent Find My from being used for stalking and unwanted tracking, and how to find out if someone’s trying to track you without your permission.
  • Discover buried controls for configuring exactly how Find My updates your device’s location, including when power runs low.
  • Understand Activation Lock, which protects devices from being reused even if someone has erased them.
  • Help family members find lost and stolen gear through Find My’s Family Sharing support.
  • Revel in a host of new iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey features that improve Find My’s capabilities.
Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He spent 2019 and 2020 building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What's New in Version 1.1

This version came out just before Apple finalized iOS 15.2/iPadOS 15.2, and a feature that people spotted in beta releases doesn’t appear likely to make it into the 15.2 release versions. That new feature lets you use a native Find My app on an iPhone or iPad to scan for nearby AirTags and other Find My items. This would reduce its effectiveness for recovery from a theft, but also make it less useful for stalking. I’ve documented what we know about the feature, which is still expected for a future iOS/iPadOS release, and I’ll update this book when that times comes. See “Unwanted Tracking via Find My Items.”

There’s one place in iOS/iPadOS and macOS you can find someone’s location using Find My that I didn’t mention in previous versions: the Messages app. I explain how to drill down into a person’s information with a single tap or click in “Use Messages To See a Person’s Location.”

I managed to omit including information about a shortcut in the Find My app in iOS/iPadOS that’s very helpful! I apologize. You can find out about this shortcut in “Pair an AirTag,” “Pair a Third-Party Item,” and “Share Location with Other People.”

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 1.1
  • Introduction
    • Find My Stuff
    • Find My People
  • Find My Quick Start
  • Learn How Find My Works
    • Learn How Find My Locates Devices and People
    • Discover Disconnected Devices
  • Deploy an AirTag or Accessory
    • Understand and Pair an AirTag
    • Manage Third-Party Find My Items
    • Get Info from a Found Find My Item
  • Enable Find My
    • Enable Find My Device
    • Enable Find My Network Tracking on Devices and Items
  • Share Your Location and See Others’ Locations
    • Configure Your Location Sharing
    • Manage Sharing Relationships
  • View Locations
    • Find People
    • Find Devices
    • Find Items
  • Take Remote Action
    • Receive Notifications
    • Play Sound
    • Pull Up Driving Directions
  • Mark Something as Lost
    • Mark a Device as Lost in a Find My App
    • Mark a Device as Lost in the iCloud Web App
    • Mark an Item as Lost in the Find My App
  • Finding a Lost Device
    • How Lost Mode Appears on an iOS/iPadOS Device or Watch
    • How Mark as Lost Works with a Mac
    • How Lost Mode Works with an Item
  • Understand Stalking via Tracking
    • Unwanted Tracking of a Person
    • Unwanted Tracking of Devices
    • Unwanted Tracking via Find My Items
  • Erase Your Device
    • Erase an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Watch
    • Erase Your Mac
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

Glenn Fleishman Discusses His Latest Books on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on October 31, 2021

Glenn Fleishman joined host Chuck Joiner on MacVoices about his most recent books.

In part one, Glenn discusses Take Control of Find My and AirTags. He provides an overview of Find My, explains the differences between “devices” and “items,” and talks about privacy considerations.

In part two, Glenn covers updates to Take Control of iOS & iPadOS Privacy and Security and his more recent book Take Control of Securing Your Mac, including new security features in Monterey and iCloud+.

In part three, Glenn discusses Take Control of Cryptocurrency and more.


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