This App Is Like a Homing Device for Bluetooth Signals
Bluetooth devices are more common than ever. Wireless technology seems to be built into almost every product we buy: it connects our iPhones to our Apple Watches and Fitbits, our wireless headphones to audio sources, and our game controllers to our consoles. Of course, the more technology goes wireless, the easier it is to lose it: I’ve lost my AirPods on the couch more than once, and I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience. However, there is an app that makes finding just about any Bluetooth device as easy as you can imagine.
Of course, if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you have Find My : this network of Bluetooth devices communicates with internet devices like the iPhone to update their location on the Find My map. If you check the app, you will see the last known location for all compatible devices. The Apple U1 chip takes things a step further in finding items as the technology literally guides you to where the Bluetooth device is hiding.
But not all Bluetooth devices are compatible with this technology, and not all are part of the Apple ecosystem. There are many Bluetooth devices in your world that can get lost without a clear solution to find them. Luckily, there are apps designed to help you keep track of these elements, similar to how Apple’s U1 chip works, no matter what smartphone you own.
Find Lost Bluetooth Devices on iPhone and Android
The best free app I have ever seen is Wunderfind available for iOS and Android . Skip the slightly aggressive refresh screen and you’ll see a simple interface showing just about every Bluetooth device nearby. Not only do I see devices that belong to me (from computers to speakers, headphones, etc.), I see a lot of devices that I don’t know, supposedly belong to my neighbors. The Bluetooth range is about 10 meters, so it makes sense to take certain devices to neighboring apartments.
Other free apps like LightBlue and Bluetooth BLE Device Finder also list devices in your area, so this isn’t a unique feature. However, in addition to these applications, Wunderfind offers free managed tracking. When you click on one of these devices, you will see a new screen showing a large circle with a smaller blue circle in the middle. How big this blue circle is depends on how close you are to the Bluetooth device, a distance that is also represented as a percentage of 100. For example, if you see a small blue circle with a value of 20%, you know you’re not particularly close. towards your subject: if you see a big blue circle at 80%, you are almost there.
App reviews praise it for this feature: while you see a lot of reviews thanking the developers for helping you find devices like Apple Pencils and headphones, you’ll also see more important devices found, like hearing aids. It makes you wonder why more companies don’t make these kinds of apps, and if they do, why don’t they take the time to build them. Apple’s Find My is a good start, but it clearly could add more of these features.
Difficult to scan AirTags with Bluetooth tracking apps
I think these apps could improve – and what they may not be to blame for is AirTags identification. You may have read about the controversy surrounding the company’s tiny trackers , which are designed to find devices and items that are easily lost or stolen. AirTags can be on your keys so you can easily fish them out of your couch and also out of your backpack if someone “accidentally” picks it up and leaves your location.
In this regard, a great product. However, you can quickly see the problem: if you can track an object, you can track a person. However, Apple has come up with a workaround : if your iPhone detects a strange AirTag in close proximity for long enough and that AirTag is separated from its owner, it will alert you both to announcing your iPhone and with an audible alert. from AirTag itself. There is also an app for Android users to manually scan AirTags nearby.
As far as I can tell these Bluetooth tracking apps do not accept my AirTag. The fact that none of them do this makes me wonder if there is something special about the AirTag that doesn’t make it visible in a Bluetooth scan. I’ve seen complaints that the Android AirTag tracker app doesn’t work unless the AirTag has been separated from its owner for a certain period of time: that’s probably what’s happening here as well. However, this is hard to verify as I also use my iPhone to run the bluetooth scanning app.
Apple isn’t the only Bluetooth tracker in the game: Tile also makes these devices , although I don’t have any. I can’t confirm if these apps can detect Tile trackers when they scan or if they have an issue similar to AirTags. Keep this in mind if you are trying to use these apps to find Bluetooth trackers.
However, Wunderfind is a great option for finding lost Bluetooth devices. If you want to pay a one-time $4.99 surcharge, you’ll get access to “professional” features like playing sound to find lost devices, notifications for lost or found devices, a map of Bluetooth devices in your area. and free updates for future professional features.