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Unknown Accessory Detected Near You: What is it, Why Are You Getting This, and What to Do?

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Apple has revamped a lot of features with the release of iOS 15 and one of them has been a major overhaul to the Find my app. The app can now track your AirTags, notify you about lost items and even help other users find their lost items through you. But what if you get notified of an accessory that you don’t have on your person? This is exactly what has been happening to many users and here’s all you need to know about it. 

What is the ‘Unknown Accessory Detected Near You’ alert?

With the recent revamp, Apple added the ability to detect and notify users about unknown AirTags and accessories on their person. This is a privacy-focused feature meant to help you identify any AirTags or other tracking devices placed on your or in your vehicle with malicious intent.

Sadly when your iDevice is unable to identify the type of accessory detected on your person, it can be a bit disconcerting. Here’s why you get this alert if you do not have a relevant accessory on your person. 

Why do you get this alert?

As mentioned above, this is a privacy-focused feature and if you get this notification then your iDevice has detected an unknown accessory in your vicinity. Usually, Apple accessories that can be tracked using the Find My app but do not belong to you display this notification. Ideally, your iDevice should be able to detect the make and model of the accessory but a recent firmware update for Airpods Pro seems to have broken its functionality. Here’s all you can do about the notification.

What to do if you get ‘Unknown Accessory Detected Near You’ message

Here’s what you should do when you get the ‘Unknown Accessory Detected Near You’ error. 

1. Check for an unknown accessory on you (an AirTag nearby?)

First things first, you should check for any Apple accessories on your person that do not belong to you. You should also look for AirTags in your vicinity as well as ask your friends and family about their accessories. If you own a pair of AirTags, then we recommend you ensure that they are not malfunctioning by re-pairing them to your device. If your AirTags seem to be the culprit and are still detected as ‘Unknown accessory’ then use the last section in this guide to reset your AirTags.  

2. If you own Airpods Pro

A recent update to Airpods Pro seems to be causing this issue for many users. Apple recently added the ability to track your Airpods using the Find my app. The new Find my app also uses the Find my network and all connected devices to locate lost ones easily and efficiently. Sadly this new feature for the Airpods Pro seems to force many iDevices to recognize it as an unknown accessory.

This could be because the Airpods Pro are connecting to Find My servers whenever you open them or due to some other reason entirely. We have very little information on the actual cause of this issue, but for now, if you did not find any unidentified accessory on your person or in your vicinity, then it is likely that your Airpods Pro caused this misjudged notification.

You can confirm the same by opening your Airpods case again and you should get the same notification briefly or for a long period depending on your current setup. 

3. If you don’t own AirTags or Airpods Pro (give info)

Sadly Airpods Pro in your vicinity that you do not own can also cause this false notification on your iDevice. We suspect that the Find my network is to blame but we can’t be sure for now. If you recently received this notification then ensure that no one is using Airpods in your vicinity. It could be that one of your friends or family members has decided to use their pair. 

4. If you have an unrecognized AirTags (reset AirTags)

If you found out earlier that your AirTags are being recognized as ‘Unknown Accessory’ despite a re-pair. Then we recommend you use the guide below to reset your AirTags. 

Remove the back cover of your AirTags. We recommend you refer to a video if this is your first time. You have to essentially press down the steel back cover and rotate it counterclockwise. 

Remove the battery from the AirTags. Wait a few seconds and then replace the battery. Press on the battery until you hear a sound from the device. This means that the battery is connected and the device is receiving power. 

Wait for the sound to end. Once ended, repeat the battery removal and replacement process 4 more times, each time waiting for the sound to finish. The 5th sound played by your device will be different from the rest. This will indicate that your AirTags have been reset.

Replace the battery cover and re-pair your AirTags with your iDevice. The device should no longer be recognized as ‘Unknown Accessory’. 

Should you be worried?

This depends on if you found the culprit or not. If the issue was caused by a pair of Airpods or your AirTags then you shouldn’t be concerned. However, if you keep getting the notification regardless of your AirTags or Airpods then you have a reason for concern.

Someone might have placed an AirTags on you that you aren’t able to find or you could be carrying an unknown Apple accessory belonging to someone else by mistake. The possibilities are endless and we recommend you get in touch with Apple Support at the earliest in such cases. We recommend you use the Apple Support app from the App Store. Use the relevant link below depending on your preferences. 

  • Apple Support | Link

  • Apple Support App | Link

We hope this post helped shed light on the ‘Unknown Accessory’ notification. If you have any insights or suggestions feel free to drop them in the comments section below. 


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