Lost AirPods are becoming a problem in New York City

Lost AirPods are becoming a problem in New York City
No, we don't believe that Apple made the wireless Bluetooth AirPods slippery on purpose so that they could slip out of your ears, forcing you to buy a new pair. But the truth of the matter is that they are easy to lose and misplace. Despite their propensity to disengage from your ear, the AirPods are one of Apple's most popular products and helped the wearables segment deliver a 48% year over year improvement in revenue during the fiscal third quarter. The Apple Watch was also instrumental in this unit's strong showing from April through June, although the smartwatch doesn't often fall out of a wearer's ear.

If you do happen to lose an AirPod or two, the Find My iPhone app can help you locate them; whether you can rescue them is another story. The Wall Street Journal today published the story of Terri Gerstein, who lost one of her AirPods. She found that it had fallen through a sidewalk grate in Brooklyn forcing her to create a homemade tool fashioned out of a broomstick and duct tape to save the device. But having to go full MacGuyver in order to have both AirPods back didn't make Terri feel better. Instead, she said, "I felt like I don’t deserve them. I’m not careful enough. I don’t deserve something so nice." Gerstein works at  Harvard Law School where she directs a workplace-law program.

New York's MTA considers filming a PSA to warn AirPods wearers not to put them on or take them off when entering or exiting a train


Gerstein isn't the only AirPods owner who had to go fishing for the device from a sidewalk grate. Anna Madison also had to create a tool made up of dental floss and a magnetic Juul electronic cigarette charger. She was motivated to save her AirPod once she discovered that Apple charges $69 to replace a single one, and her self created magnetic stick worked like a charm.


As many as 25 New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers go through the city's subway tracks every day looking for lost items; once AirPods became a common holiday gift, they started to find the device in lieu of other items like dentures and pacifiers. And the number of AirPods they picked up from the tracks grew again in size after Apple released a refreshed version of them this past March. MTA maintenance supervisor Steven Dluginski notes that while they are small, tiny and hard to find, they do show up on the dark areas near the subway tracks. "The only saving grace is that they’re white," he says. On a recent workday, Dluginski's crew had requests from passengers to find 18 lost items with AirPods making up 6 or one-third of them. Being professionals, the MTA doesn't need to resort to homemade equipment to save lost AirPods from getting shocked by the third rail. Dluginski's team relies on a pole that can extend to as long as 8-feet long with two rubber cups at the end; when squeezed together using the pole, the AirPods can be caught pincer-like by the rubber cups and saved.


If you lose your AirPods while riding the NYC subway system, your best bet is to speak to MTA personnel. As the WSJ notes in its report, those looking to start their own rescue operation can cause delays or even hurt themselves seriously. The MTA is said to be considering the production of a public service announcement that would urge commuters not to put on or take off AirPods while entering or exiting a train.


You might recall that just last month we told you the story of Ashley Mayer, who had dropped one of her AirPods on a subway track in New York City. As badly as she wanted to save the earbud, Mayer said that she was "not lunging after it and becoming the first-ever AirPod-related subway death." When she returned the next day, her AirPod was in the same exact spot. Changing her mind, she decided to try and rescue the earbud opting for the ol' broomstick and duct tape rescue. Once she had the device back in her possession, she sanitized the dirty AirPod and started wearing the whole set once again.


If you're a longtime PhoneArena reader, the name of Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster might be familiar to you. Munster estimates that 50 million AirPods will be sold this year, up 78.6% from the 28 million Apple sold in 2018. Munster says that one key driver of sales is that they are so easy to lose. Munster should know; the analyst estimates that he has lost 10 pair of the wireless Bluetooth earbuds since they were first released in December 2016.

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24 Comments

1. lyndon420

Posts: 6837; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

"....the analyst estimates that he has lost 10 pair of the wireless Bluetooth earbuds..." OMG dude!! At what point do you learn your lesson and come up with a solution?? 10 pairs??? lol

6. dimas

Posts: 3383; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Either he is rich not to care at money spent or just plain old dumb to continue repeating the same mistake.

14. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

The mere fact that he bought the stupid things in the first place tells you he's an idiot. When I see people wearing them I just shake my head.

24. Silva5 unregistered

No need for personal attacks. Everyone has different preferences, tastes, and opinions. Just because someone likes a product you dislike doesn’t make them an idiot. Grow up.

2. gadgetpower

Posts: 283; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

I hope apple makes new color for the airpods

7. mackan84

Posts: 560; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Concrete-grey. They’ll never find them again.

3. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

AirPods aren’t easy to lose at all. They don’t fall from the ears. Woman who dropped her AirPod on the rails was taking them out during exiting a train and most others are fake cases. If you wanna know how fit the AirPods are in your ears then watch X games. A lot of players keep them on while doing those high flying and impacting skate stunt jumps. Sometimes the player falls but AirPods doesn’t.

4. strawberry

Posts: 115; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

wearing airpod for long run, won’t drop at all. it’s very comfortable too

11. Alcyone

Posts: 489; Member since: May 10, 2018

Ok.... Thats remarkable.

13. cmdacos

Posts: 4270; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

If they dont fall out then people are literally throwing them away because this entire story disputes your opinion.

12. TS020

Posts: 52; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

So another win for wired earphones; if they fall out of your ears you aren't losing them.

25. Fred3

Posts: 564; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

I wouldn't say all that but the way airpods are made to just hang on your ear you would think people pick a more secure option but I guess that's how bad people will choose brands over common sense

15. Vagabondjonez

Posts: 163; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Get some Galaxy buds or jaybirds...airpods look aeasthetically drunk.

20. Dbosss unregistered

Ha ha... nice way to start with the article phonearena :D

21. AlienKiss

Posts: 210; Member since: May 21, 2019

No thanks! You can keep your cancerous wireless bs for yourself! Meanwhile we'll keep using wired headphones for excellent quality and no brain tumors. Also, my headphones saved my phone a number of times because I could grab the wires in the last moment before it could hit the ground. I dare you to do that with wireless buds =))

22. midan

Posts: 3019; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

i see AirPods more and more everyday.

23. Silva5 unregistered

Wait, what!? You’re telling me something that’s tiny and can fall out of your ear easily is getting lost often!? I am SHOCKED!! /sarcasm.

26. RoryBreaker

Posts: 238; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

Apple AirPods users look like they have Tampons in their ears.

27. deleon629

Posts: 469; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Correction: Lost airpods are becoming a problem for people Dumb enough to believe headphones without strings would magically stick to their bodies or yell when they're falling out of their ears, I suppose

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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