Apple has announced an update to the proprietary Locator application. Now third-party manufacturers will be able to add their accessories there and use the Locator Network to find gadgets easily, safely and accurately.

For over a decade, our customers have been using Find My to help locate lost or stolen Apple devices while protecting their privacy.

And now, by launching the Locator Network access program for accessories, we are opening up the vast possibilities of one of our most popular services to even more people.

Bob Borchers

Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing

The “Things” tab will appear in the application, where all your certified accessories will be collected. Apple takes a responsible approach to the issue of confidentiality, so you can’t add anything there.

Keychain-tracker Chipolo ONE Spot. Source: Apple

The main feature of Locator is a multi-million dollar network of devices around the world that allows you to track a lost or stolen accessory. Even if the device is not connected to the internet.

It works like this:

Each of the gadgets sends a constantly changing key that nearby Apple devices use to encrypt and download geolocation data, so only your other Apple device has a key to decrypt those locations.

When you hit the search button on, for example, your laptop, the iPad downloads to Apple the same public key hash as the identifier. So Apple can search the millions of encrypted locations stored and find the corresponding hash.

Craig Federighi

Apple VP of Software Development

Information about the approximate location of the lost device is transferred to the owner. Everything is anonymous and end-to-end encrypted, so no one (except you, of course) can see information about the device or its location.

Electric bike VanMoof. Source: Apple

The first third-party accessories to support the Locator app will be Belkin SOUNDFORM Freedom headphones, Chipolo ONE Spot trackers and VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bikes.

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