Has this ever happened to you? You’re out and about, minding your own business, when suddenly your iPhone hits you with an “AirPods Left Behind” message. You panic, wondering where you could’ve dropped your expensive earbuds — until you realise they never left your pocket. What gives, iPhone?
Before we dive into the issue, let’s explain how this feature is supposed to work. Apple’s “Notify When Left Behind” option is available for AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods 3, when paired with any iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 device. Because these headphones are compatible with the Find My network, they can communicate with other iPhones out in the world to update their location. While it isn’t a live GPS signal, it’s certainly helpful, since you’ll be able to see where your AirPods were last in contact with another iPhone owner.
When working as it should, this feature should send you a notification when you’ve been separated from your AirPods for a period of time. To avoid being notified every time you leave your AirPods somewhere intentional, you can specify certain locations where the feature doesn’t kick in. If you don’t want your iPhone warning you every time you leave your AirPods at home, for example, you can set your address as such a location.
The problem here is lately, your iPhone might warn you your AirPods were left behind when they’re actually still on your person. I get these alerts all the time. Sometimes, my iPhone thinks I left my AirPods back at my last location; other times, it claims my AirPods were left behind on the highway, 10 minutes ago.
The issue seems to stem from an AirPods firmware update, specifically version 4A400. Since the update, users — like myself — are plagued with these notifications. My guess is the firmware messed with whatever Find My communications AirPods are supposed to have. After a while, the AirPods stop talking with your iPhone, making iOS think they were “left behind.”
How to stop these AirPods notifications
Seeing as this bug is affecting quite a few people, I have no doubt Apple is working on a fix for this issue. However, that fix isn’t here yet. Perhaps it’ll come alongside iOS 15.4, which Apple is releasing next week. If so, we’ll update this article with relevant instructions. Until then, however, you’re better off turning off the Find My feature to save yourself the daily grief.
To do so, open Find My on your iPhone, tap “Notify When Left Behind,” then tap the toggle next to the feature to disable it. It’s a bummer, because this would be a useful feature to avoid losing your AirPods, but when you’re told multiple times every day your AirPods are “missing,” it stops being quite so useful.
If you don’t want to resort to disabling the feature just yet, one possible workaround could be to unpair and reset your AirPods with your iPhone. There are no guarantees here, but resetting tech does often work wonders. It takes no time at all to do, so if you want to give it a try before disabling Notify When Left Behind, check out our guide here.