Apple mysteriously blocks app that helps you find lost AirPods

Posted Jan 11, 2017 by James Walker
Apple has removed a new iOS app that helped solve one of the biggest problems with the company's new AirPods wireless earphones. "Finder for AirPods" could guide users towards the accessories if lost but Apple has taken offence to the innocuous app.
Apple AirPods will replace conventional headphone jack headphones on the iPhone 7.
Apple AirPods will replace conventional headphone jack headphones on the iPhone 7.
© Apple, Inc.
The app measures the Bluetooth signals from the AirPods to attempt to work out their rough location. It then uses an arc approach to guide the owner towards finding them, although it's not a perfect solution. Environmental obstructions such as walls and furniture can affect the Bluetooth connection and create inaccuracies in the app's location reporting.
Apple's AirPods have proved to be highly successful since their launch late last year. However, some users have been frustrated by their fit. While most people haven't complained about AirPods falling out of their ears, some owners have reported a less satisfactory experience.
Because the AirPods are so small, once one does end up being misplaced it can be difficult to find. Apple doesn't provide any official way of locating lost accessories, a gap Finder for AirPods was trying to fill.
Apple has now removed the app from the App Store, apparently because it opposed the idea of people easily finding their lost AirPods. It would rather customers took the alternative option and bought a replacement, priced at $69. The app cost $3.99 before being deemed "not appropriate for the App Store."
Apple hasn't publicly commented on why it removed the app or whether it will return. The company may have been irked by the app's inaccurate and vague guidance prompts. It used a hot and cold approach to help users refine their search, attempting to hide the underlying issues with its reliance on the AirPods' Bluetooth connection.
The "You're getting closer" and "It's around here" messages effectively gamified finding the accessories, although the assistance was still more useful than Apple's currently non-existent first-party efforts. Apple hasn't indicated whether it intends to launch its own similar app in the future. The mostly positive reviews on Finder for AirPods suggest one would be welcomed by owners.