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

Take Control of
Find My and AirTags

Second Edition
Glenn Fleishman

Take Control of Find My and AirTags takes you inside Apple’s Find My ecosystem. Once solely a way to track where your iPhone was, now Find My encompasses so much more. You can follow people’s location (with permission) and share yours; find misplaced Apple and Beats audio hardware, even down to a single lost earbud; and track and share AirTags and third-party items attached to or in your bag, car, bike, and more.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—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, with apps available for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and on 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, and Apple and Beats audio hardware. 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. Learn how to share your items with up to five other people.

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. And find out about a new industry effort, headlined by Apple and Google, to make trackers from all companies discoverable on Apple and Android phones, tablets, and computers.

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.

The book focuses on the latest Apple operating systems: iOS 17/iPadOS 17, macOS 14 Sonoma, and watchOS 10. However, it looks back to iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and macOS 13 Ventura for nearly every feature—and sometimes back even years before those releases—so you can best use your mix of Apple devices of all vintages.

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

  • Start sharing AirTags and other items with up to five other people.
  • 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.
  • Lost a single earbud? Apple may have you covered by playing a sound out of it or providing nearly pinpoint tracking.
  • 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 nearly a dozen companies that make bike, bag, and general stuff trackers, some with extra alarms
  • 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 capability in iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and later to track an iPhone or iPad even after it’s been erased!
  • See how Messages in iOS 17/iPadOS 17 simplifies and improves location sharing and maps.
  • 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, including the new partnership with Google to block stalkers and harassers.
  • Discover buried controls for configuring exactly how Find My updates your device’s location, including when power runs low.
  • Your Apple Watch has three Find My apps you’ll get to know to use them effectively on the go.
  • 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.
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 the Second Edition [check]

This edition is thoroughly updated for changes related to iOS 17/iPadOS 17, macOS 14 Sonoma, and the Find My network for devices and items. This includes new screen captures, step-by-step directions, and other information about changes since the previous edition.

The principal changes include:

  • Share Find My items’ location: Standalone Find My trackers like an AirTag or embedded trackers in bikes, earpods, and more, used to be trackable exclusively among a set of devices connected to a single Apple ID, the one used on the iPhone or iPad with which the Find My device was paired. Starting in iOS 17/iPadOS 17 and Sonoma, you can share access to Find My items with up to five other people. See “Share Your Find My Items.”
  • Added an audio device section: Because Apple now offers more features specific to audio devices they make under the Apple and Beats brand names:
    • I’ve added a section to “View Locations” specific to audio hardware: Find Audio Devices. This includes the new earbud tracking feature for AirPods (3rd generation) or AirPods Pro.
    • If your earbuds are out of their case and separated, Apple now provides a Left and Right tracking label in Find My. See “Find Audio Devices.”
    • Only misplaced a single earbud? You can play sound out of one or the other. See “Play Sound.” (This may not be new, but it’s now documented.)
  • Industry-wide anti-tracking standard: To answer the criticism of those who find tiny low-power trackers a threat to an individual’s safety and privacy, Apple and Google banded together to create a new privacy-preserving standard that all trackers would comply with, and which would work across ecosystems. See “Active Stalking and an Industry Alliance.” (This book will be updated later in 2023 or early 2024 as changes to iOS/iPad, Sonoma, Android, and ecosystems occur and some messages and features change.)
  • Messages change for sharing: Messages used to require a multi-step process to share your location with another person or other people in a conversation. As part of the simplification of Messages in iOS 17/iPadOS 17, you now just click or tap a plus (+) button to choose Location. (The process remains as it was in macOS Sonoma.) See “Share Location with Other People.”
  • Added Apple Watch coverage: The previous edition of this book didn’t mention the Apple Watch Find My series of apps (Find Devices, Find People, Find Items). Whoops! They’re now included.
  • Added Apple Watch coverage: The previous edition of this book didn’t mention the Apple Watch Find Devices app, the Find My equivalent. Whoops! It’s now included.
  • Expanded on broken Lock Mode for Macs: As far as I can tell, Apple has left the option to lock your Mac broken since Monterey’s release. I’ve documented this further in “How Mark as Lost Works with a Mac,” particularly “Apple Broke Lost Mode in Monterey.”
  • Messages improves embedded map: The location map for other people you see in Messages has gotten an upgrade, with more detail and options. See “Find Someone in Messages.”
  • Request location sharing: Speaking of Messages, you can now request that someone share their location with you from within Messages. See “Request Sharing from Someone.”
  • Updates to third-party trackers: I’ve updated throughout for new and discontinued third-party Find My items. New items include products from 4iii, Ember, ESR, Hyper, and RollingSquare. Belkin no longer makes its Find My-trackable earbuds, and the bike manufacturer VanMoof’s future is uncertain. See “Manage Third-Party Find My Items” and throughout generally, and “A Quick Look at Third-Party Items” specifically.
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in the Second Edition
  • 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
    • Consider Your Purpose
    • 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
    • Share Your Find My Items
    • Troubleshoot Incorrect Locations
  • View Locations
    • Find People
    • Find Devices
    • Find Audio 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 Devices
    • 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 Everything But a Mac
    • 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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