"Find My" giving false alarms

Went to a bookstore the other day. Had my bag containing my MacBook Air & iPad Mini, and had my iPhone 11 in my pocket.

It’s critical to note that none of the stuff left my bag, but my iPhone was being used while I was in the bookstore.

Left the store, got in the car, and drove off. As I’m exiting the parking lot and turning onto the road, my iPhone announces through my earpiece that I’ve left my MacBook behind. No notification about the iPad.

So I freak out. I wonder if somehow the thing got taken from my bag, or if I somehow took it out of the bag while digging for something else and forget about it, or something crazy. I pull over. The MacBook is right there in the bag, exactly where I figured it should have been.

The MacBook isn’t cellular, and I never connected it to wi-fi. I never even took it out of the bag, let alone opened it up. The iPhone knew that the MacBook was at the bookstore though, and it somehow didn’t know it was right on the seat next to me as I was driving off.

I could just disable that feature for the MacBook, but it’s probably the most valuable Apple product I own - so that seems kind of silly.

Any idea what could’ve caused the iPhone to get the false negative and/or how I might address the problem in the future?

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The only thing that comes to my mind that the Mac connected to the WiFi in the bookstore and broadcasted its location. And when you left it you got disconnected and iPhone thought you left it behind.

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It wouldn’t log in to Wi-Fi would it though? Doesn’t it use Bluetooth for find my?

That’s what I was wondering.

“Find My” seems like a feature of very little utility if a laptop - which by definition isn’t a cellular device - is always going to be considered “left” at the last place it had an Internet connection.

But if it was using Bluetooth, why wouldn’t the iPhone be able to tell it was sitting in the car next to me?

Is your phone paired with it through Bluetooth?

Happened to me with ipad. Just a couple of days ago. Ignored it. FYI

I don’t think so. They’re on the same iCloud account - is there some magic I need to do to get them to talk nice to one another?

The thing is, the whole point of the notification is that if it’s correct, it’s likely pretty important. Psychologically speaking, having to routinely ignore notifications trains you to ignore notifications. And that usually causes you to ignore a notification when it’s actually important.

Correctness is a big deal with some things.

I think it was just a bug or maybe something funny about the radio environment. Separation alerts are based on the BLE connection between the location-tracking device (your phone) and the tracked device. The Find My network doesn’t come into play determining whether the laptop has moved away from you.

Personally I think it is better to err on the side of alerting you, but I understand being annoyed.

What about the MacBook‘s battery level? Are you experiencing any bluetooth issues on it?
If your device runs out of battery (or your bluetooth radio turns off for some reason) Find My will revert to the device‘s last known location.

I get ‘false negatives’ quite regularly with my wifi only iPad.

My guess is the system utilises bluetooth on the non-cellular devices, to connect it to your iPhone, and that’s how it tracks the Mac/iPad’s last location (i.e. it’s the last location it was near your phone).

False negatives aren’t great, since learning to ignore the alert defeats the whole purpose of the system. At the moment, I try to pay attention to the alert and double check my bag ASAP.

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I agree. Probably some teething problems so I’m giving them a chance to iron out the kinks. I’d rather get a false notification than none at all just to play it safe though. Also I rarely lose my stuff so I’m not the target audience :smiley:

My guess is the macbook broadcast it’s presence in the store to another Apple device, maybe not even owned by you, and when you got in the car that location came through to your phone. It noticed your macbook was sighted in a location you just left, and pinged you.

I’ve found the “you left a device” alarms very hit and miss, actually more miss than hit.

I get semi regular notifications that I’ve left my Airpods behind and when I check they’re safely in my pocket.

78% on the battery level when I got home later that day. And no Bluetooth issues that I’m aware of.

That’s the camp I’m in too - but as I find myself carrying the notebook around more, I’m really hoping this isn’t a constant issue.

I rarely lose my stuff too - but I can be forgetful. I have forgotten an iPad Pro someplace in the past, and didn’t realize it until I was back on the other side of town. Took three days for somebody else to find it and call me to return it. :slight_smile:

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