Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are extremely popular among consumers. That, unfortunately, also makes them popular targets for thieves.
While there aren’t any hard numbers on AirPods theft available, there are media reports of gangs targeting AirPods users in certain parts of the UK. That’s not to mention all of the problems that lost AirPods are causing elsewhere.
When you think about it, it makes sense. AirPods are small, relatively expensive and, unlike other Apple products, can pretty easily be connected to a new device. Once they’re lost or stolen, they’re also fairly difficult if not impossible to track down — even when using Find My AirPods.
Partly, that’s because the Find My app doesn’t notify users when their AirPods are paired with a new device. The app will only show the last location that they were paired with devices that you own.
AirPods Theft Deterrents
There are a number of things you can do to avoid being mugged for AirPods, including keeping to areas you know, walking with confidence wherever you go, and avoiding leaving AirPods out on a table or other public place.
But there are also a number of things that Apple does that can help discourage theft. For example, past user reports have indicated that Apple typically requires a receipt or serial number to replace a missing AirPods case. That could be a deterrent to thieves who steal individual AirPods but didn’t make off with their case.
On second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, each individual AirPod headphone has a small serial number printed on it, too.
That, of course, means that stolen AirPods can be reported stolen and added to a database. That’s not a guarantee that you’ll get them back, but it could derail attempts to resell them on the secondary market.
You can also discourage theft by personalizing your AirPods with your name, a phone number or an email address. This could also be helpful if a good Samaritan happens to find your lost earbuds.
Speaking of which, you can do something similar for non-personalized AirPods that you already own. Again, this tactic won’t deter theft, but it could help you reunite with your lost or misplaced AirPods down the road.