No Anti-Theft Measures to Be Found with Apple’s New AirPods Headphones

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are now available, with their most buzzworthy features being a waterproof body, dual rear-cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, and the absence of a headphone jack. That doesn’t mean owners can’t use headphones with it, but if they want to rely on their current headphones that use a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack they’ll have to use a Lightning converter.

Otherwise, users must use the included Lightning-connected EarPods or spend $159 on a pair of wireless AirPods, which should always be either in your ears or their charging case. Reactions have been mixed. Users who want to charge their phone and listen to music at the same time have to do so with ordinary headphones and an adapter dongle, and some people aren’t happy about that. Another problem people worry about is loss or theft of AirPods.

The Many Ways You Can Lose Your AirPods

Since AirPods aren’t connected by wire to anything, if you drop one on the ground, you no longer have a nice, long wire to help you find it. And if you’re klutzy and the only thing that typically keeps your phone from falling to the ground is the headphone wire, you could be in for problems.

At $159, AirPods aren’t something most people would want to have to replace because they dropped one down a street grate or sent them through a wash cycle. And since they’re so small, with no tell-tale wires, stealing them unnoticed will be easier for the casual thief. Surely Apple has some sort of theft deterrent for these fancy new wireless headphones, right? Wrong.

Apple: “You’re on Your Own.”

If you lose your AirPods or become the victim of AirPod theft, Apple says you’re on your own. You’ll simply have to buy new ones, or get an adapter so you can use traditional 3.5 mm headphones, neither of which are appealing options. Some contend that the insistence on removing the headphone jack and insisting on wireless headphones is a way for Apple to position itself for the incipient world of voice computing, with devices that definitely won’t be mistaken for Bluetooth headsets. In other words, Apple is trying to get everyone used to wireless headphones because they have something else up their sleeves. But right now they do not have your back if one of your AirPods falls into the spaghetti sauce you’re cooking.

You Are the Anti-Theft Measure, Like It or Not

Anti-theft

If your AirPods are lost or stolen, you’ll simply have to replace them.

With AirPods, you have to be the anti-theft device, because you don’t really have a choice. Of course, it’s smart to be vigilant about your pricey belongings anyway, but we all know that even extremely conscientious people fall victim to theft. So you need to keep an eye on them the way you do with your iPhone itself, only perhaps more so, since you can track a lost phone, but you can’t track your lost AirPods. And they’re so tiny that it only makes sense that they’d be the perfect thing for a thief to pocket at a restaurant, park, or school.

Apple makes some beautiful products that make people’s lives more enjoyable. Unfortunately, that, plus their typically high cost make them prime targets for theft. The new AirPods that go with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be particularly prone to loss until people are used to not having their headphones tethered to them by a wire, and until wireless headphones in general become popular enough that they’re not immediately assumed to be a high-end Apple product.

If your AirPods, iPhone, jewelry, laptop, car, or other item goes missing, we invite you to list it with us on Stolen911. It’s free, and your post lasts for a year (and can be renewed thereafter). Law enforcement agencies and pawn shops throughout the country check sites like Stolen911 as well as general search engines for items they receive that they believe to be lost or stolen, and Stolen911 makes sure your items are quickly indexed by all major search engines. Plus, you can easily share your Stolen911 post on social media sites. Posting a stolen item is easy, and there’s simply no downside to doing it, so what are you waiting for?

By Marc Hinch

A Police Investigator in California specializing in auto theft since 1998 and creator of Stolen 911.