1. Setup Find My app
  2. Activate Notify When Left Behind
  3. How to find a lost Apple Watch
  4. Mark an item as lost – and wipe it remotely
  5. Get Directions to your device

How to find your lost Apple Watch or AirPods

Our set up guide can stop you losing devices in the first place
Wareable Find lost Apple Watch or AirPods
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

If you’ve lost your Apple Watch or AirPods, there are some pretty nifty tools within the Apple ecosystem to help you retrieve them.

We’ve managed to mislay both Apple Watches and AirPods in our years of using them, and we know there’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling when you discover that they’re gone.

But with the Find My app, and some other handy features, it’s possible to not only find them again but prevent yourself from losing them in the first place. Here’s how to get set up.

Discover: 66 essential Apple Watch tips 

Setup Find My app

7240 wearable tech news how to find your lost apple watch or airpods image4 wlxgceel0r.jpg

Before you lose your device, we need to set up the Find My app – don’t delay, do it now! You need to head to Settings > your Apple ID (hit your name at the top) > Find My. Ensure that Find My iPhone is toggled on at the top. 

This screen also enables you to see whether you’re sharing your location, and who can see it. A useful privacy point.

Activate Notify When Left Behind

In the Find My app, you can also set up notifications when some devices are left behind. It’s available for AirPods and AirTags, but sadly not for Apple Watch. We’d love an alert to remind us if we left it at home, but sadly that’s one for the future.

Go to your AirPods in the Find My app, and toggle on Left Behind. Behind. You can omit your home, so you don’t get buzzed every time you take the trash out – or you can include it, so you never forget.

How to find a lost Apple Watch

7240 wearable tech news how to find your lost apple watch or airpods image1 n1uqoz46dh.jpg

If you can’t find your Apple Watch then:

1.    Head to the Find My app on your iPhone
2.    Tap the Devices tab
3.    Find your Apple Watch from the list
4.    You will see its last known location on the map. If it’s in your house, it will say “At home”.

If your Apple Watch is somewhere in the house, but you can’t find it, then you can choose Play Sound. It will chime, just like your iPhone, and you can follow the sound to its hiding place.

Mark an item as lost – and wipe it remotely

If, for some reason, you can’t retrieve your Apple Watch, or it’s been stolen, you can Mark As Lost.

This renders the device useless, and even if it’s wiped, it can’t be set back up with a new ID. If you find it later, only you can reverse the process.

On your Devices tab, find your Apple Watch and press Activate under Mark as Lost. You can also erase the device.

Get Directions to your device

7240 wearable tech news how to find your lost apple watch or airpods image3 jwubmooxtt.jpg

If your devices are located via the Find My app, then you can summon walking or driving directions.

But some AirPods and Beats headphones go even further. The AirPods Pro 2 have an enhanced Find feature, that will use the Bluetooth connection on the phone to virtually walk you to the device.

Once it picks up the Bluetooth connection, it will direct you straight to the device, showing the heading, direction, and distance. It will even hint if the device is on the floor above or below, if it can get a signal. Nifty stuff.

TAGGED Apple Watch

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories