Apple launches an app for testing devices that work with ‘Find My’ – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

Apple has launched a new app, Find My Certification Asst., designed for MFi (Made for iPhone) Licensees, who need to test their accessories’ interoperability with Apple’s Find My network. The network helps users find lost Apple devices — like iPhones, AirPods, and Mac computers, among other things — but is poised to add support for finding other compatible accessories manufactured by third parties. The launch of the testing app signals that Apple may be ready to announce the launch of the third-party device program shortly.

According to the app’s description, MFi Licensees can use Find My Certification Asst. to test the “discovery, connection, and other key requirements” for their accessories that incorporate Apple’s Find My network technology. It also points to information about the Find My Network certification program on Apple’s MFi Portal at, which currently references Find My Network as an MFi program technology that’s “launching soon.”

The new app’s screenshots indicate it allows device makers to run various tests in areas like connectivity, sound (for example, if the item can make a noise when misplaced), firmware, key management, NFC, power, and more.

Screen Shot 2021 04 06 at 11.53.14 AM

According to Sensor Tower data, the app became publicly available on Sunday, April 4, on the iOS App Store. It’s brand new, so it is not yet ranking in any App Store categories, including its own, “Developer Tools,” or others. It also has no ratings or reviews at this time. The app’s launch is a a step toward the larger goal of opening up the Apple Find My network to third parties and Apple’s planned launch of its new accessory, AirTags.

Apple, at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, had first announced it would open up Find My to third-party devices after facing pressure from regulators in the U.S. and Europe who had been looking into, among other things, whether Apple had been planning to give itself an advantage with its forthcoming launch of AirTags, a competitor to Tile’s lost-item finder.

Image from iOS 10

A prominent Apple critic, Tile, had complained that AirTags would be able to connect with Apple’s U1 chips, which use UWB (ultra-wideband) technology for more precise finding capabilities, and at a Congressional hearing, noted that AirTags would work with Apple’s own Find My app, which ships by default on Apple devices. Tile believed this would give Apple a first-party advantage in the lost-item finder market that Tile had successfully established and dominated for years.

Apple, in response, opened up third-party developer access to its U1 chip via its “NearbyInteraction” framework last year. As a result, Tile in Jan. 2021 announced its plan to launch a new tracker powered by UWB.

More recently, Apple updated its Find My app to include a new tab called “Items” in preparation for its expanded support for AirTags and other third-party accessories, like those from Tile. This “Items” tab is enabled in the latest Apple iOS 14.5 beta release. The app explains how the Find My app will help users keep track of their everyday items — including accessories and other things compatible with Find Me. However, Tile (and likely others)

Apple’s concessions still disadvantage their businesses because participation in Apple’s finds my program means that the third-party device maker would have to abandon its existing app and instead require its customers to use Apple’s find my app — effectively turning over its customers and their data to Apple. It’s worth noting that, upon launch, the app features an icon that shows three items: headphones, a backpack, and a suitcase. Not coincidentally, perhaps, Tile’s first integrations were with Bose headphones and luggage and bag makers, Away and Herschel.

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