How to find items or people through your Apple Watch

You can find a friend or family member, a lost iPhone or iPad, and an item with an Apple AirTag, all from an Apple Watch.

top-figure.jpg

With watchOS 8 or higher installed on an Apple Watch, you can now more easily find other Apple devices, items such as AirTags, and even other people. The Find People app lets you look for other family members or friends. The Find Devices app helps you track down your iPhone, iPad, MacBook and other Apple devices that may be lost or missing. And the Find Items app helps you locate luggage, backpacks and other items that contain Apple AirTags. Here's how all three apps work.

SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

First, make sure you're running watchOS 8 or higher. From your iPhone, open the Watch app or just open the Settings app directly on your watch. Go to General and then Software Update. You'll be told that your Apple Watch is up to date or asked to download the latest update.

How to find people with an Apple Watch

To determine the location of a specific person, open the Find People app on your Apple Watch. By default, the list shows anyone who is a member of your Apple Family. For those who have granted you permission to see their location, their entry reveals their current city and state. Tap the entry for such a person. Swipe down to see a map and specific address of their whereabouts. Tap the Contact icon to call, text or email that person. Tap the Directions icon for walking, driving, transit or cycling directions to that person's whereabouts. Tap the Notify Me option to receive a notification if that person leaves their location or arrives at your location (Figure A).

Figure A

figure-a.jpg

If you can't see a person's location and you want to view it, open their entry and tap the button for Ask for Location. That person receives a notification on an iPhone and Apple Watch asking for permission for you to follow their location. That person taps OK in response to the notification. You can then see their location, contact them and get directions to find them (Figure B).

Figure B

figure-b.jpg

Next, anyone can share their location with another contact outside of family members. To do this, the person would tap their own entry in the Find People app. Make sure the switch for Share My Location is enabled. Go back to the main screen and tap the entry for Share My Location. Tap the microphone icon to dictate the name of the person with whom to share a location. Tap the Contacts icon to select a specific contact with whom to share the location via text or email. Tap the dialpad icon to manually type a phone number or email address (Figure C).

Figure C

figure-c.jpg

How to find devices on an Apple Watch

To find the location of another Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad, MacBook or AirPods, you first would need to ensure that you've enabled the Find My option for that device. If the device then goes missing, open the Find Devices app on your Apple Watch. Tap the entry for the device you want to find. The location appears via a map and an address. Swipe down the screen. Tap the command for Play Sound and the device emits a pinging noise. Tap the Directions command to view turn-by-turn directions.

If the device can't be located, tap the command under Notifications for Notify When Found. The command for Notify When Left Behind sends you a notification if you become separated from this device. If you can't track down the device, tap the command for Lost Mode to lock it so that no one else can use it. Lock Mode also allows you to leave a message and contact information for whomever finds the device (Figure D).

Figure D

figure-d.jpg

You can also find a device registered to another person in your Apple Family. To do this, keep swiping down the screen for Find My Devices until you see devices for each person in your family. Tap a specific device to see its location, play a sound, view directions or activate Lost Mode (Figure E).

Figure E

figure-e.jpg

How to find items on an Apple Watch

Finally, you can track down any items that contain an Apple AirTag. If you've already set up an AirTag, open the Find Items app on your Apple Watch. Tap the entry for the AirTag you wish to locate. The screen shows the location on a map and an address. Turn on the commands for Notify When Found or Notify When Left Behind, if desired (Figure F).

Figure F

figure-f.jpg

Also see

  • iPhone 12: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
  • What to do if you find a lost AirTag (TechRepublic)
  • Wi-Fi 6: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy (TechRepublic Premium)   
  • macOS tune up checklist (TechRepublic Premium)
  • Apple: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
  • Smartphones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)