iPhone Showing ‘Unknown Accessory Detected’ Notification

The “Unknown Accessory Detected” notification on your iPhone normally appears when there is a device near your iPhone that is not owned by you. This behavior has been implemented for the sake of AirTags that can provide you with real-time tracking.

Unknown Accessory Detected Alert
Unknown Accessory Detected Alert

The alert in question can occur because of a malfunction with your Apple AirPods, or AirTags if you own one. Additionally, a firmware anomaly can also cause the alert to appear on the Find My app incorrectly. To resolve the alert, we will go through a series of solutions along with the potential reasons for the alert appearing in detail below.

What is the “Unknown Accessory Detected” Alert? 

The alert in question is part of a revamp led by Apple to notify users of unknown devices, such as AirTags around them. This essentially serves as a privacy feature that is intended to keep you safe from devices that have been placed on you with negative intentions. 

“The ‘unknown accessory detected near you’ notification appears when an unrecognized device is near your iPhone. While this is intended to indicate an unknown AirTag in your vicinity, that is not always the case.

This is because, as we have mentioned, firmware malfunctions can often cause the alert to appear incorrectly. 

How to Deal with “Unknown Accessory Detected” Notification?

Now that you know why the alert is occurring on your iPhone, it’s time for us to discuss what you can do to tackle the notification.

  1. Look for an Unknown Device: The first thing you need to know when prompted with the alert is to look for an unknown device in your vicinity. While the chances of this happening are slim, you should not dismiss it right off the bat. Search the area where you received the alert to see if an unknown AirTag is causing the issue.
  2. Re-Pair your AirTags: If you’re getting an alert on your iPhone and you own a pair of AirTags, the problem could be due to a malfunction. This occurs when the AirTags have inconsistent Bluetooth connectivity with your iPhone, causing your device to not recognize the AirTags. To fix this, you will need to pair the AirTags again.
  3. Reset your AirTags: In some instances, pairing your AirTags does not resolve the issue. This occurs when the problem is not related to Bluetooth connectivity, but rather to the configuration of the AirTags, resulting in the alert. In such scenarios, you will need to reset your AirTags to fix the issue.
  4. Re-Pair AirPods: You can also encounter the ‘unknown accessory’ notification when you are in close proximity to your AirPods. This situation occurs when the paired AirPods face a malfunction with your iPhone, resulting in an issue. Moreover, if you are using AirPods that do not belong to you, the problem may occur. To resolve this issue, you will need to pair the AirPods again. 
  5. Update Find My App: Finally, the Find My app can be another possible cause of the notifications. This has been happening recently due to a previous update from Apple which caused a bug with the Find My app and resulted in the notification for multiple users. To remedy this bug, you will simply need to update the Find My app through the App Store. 

1. Look for an Unknown Device

If you are coming across the alert on your device in public, you can most likely ignore the notification. This is because you have likely passed close to someone carrying an AirTag which prompted the notification on your device. 

However, in case you are coming across the notification when alone or at home, you will have to carry out a search for an unknown device in your vicinity. AirTags are devices designed to track your items, but their malicious use to stalk people is not uncommon. 

To help you locate the AirTag near you, you can use the Play Sound option on the notification screen. This will make the device ring and you should be able to follow the sound to locate it if there is one near you.

In case you are unable to locate the AirTag, it is likely the notification is occurring due to an anomaly. In such an instance, move to the following methods. 

2. Re-Pair your AirTags

If you own a pair of AirTags, use the instructions below to pair them again:

  1. First, open the Settings screen on your iPhone.
  2. Then, navigate to the Bluetooth option.
    Opening Bluetooth Settings
    Opening Bluetooth Settings
  3. After that, tap the i icon next to your AirTags.
  4. Tap the Forget this Device option.
    Forgetting Paired Device
    Forgetting Paired Device
  5. Once you have unpaired the AirTags, go through the setup process again to pair them. 

3. Reset your AirTags

  1. To reset your AirTag, press down on the stainless steel battery cover of the AirTag and rotate it counter-clockwise until the rotation stops.
    AirTag Cover
    AirTag Cover
  2. After that, remove the cover and the battery underneath. 
  3. Then, put it in the battery again and press down on it until you hear a sound. This sound delegates that the battery is connected.
  4. The sound should last for 4-5 seconds. After the sound finishes, repeat this process 4 more times. Remove the battery and place it again till you hear a sound.
  5. The fifth sound will be different from the previous ones. This will indicate that the AirTag is ready to pair. 
  6. Insert the cover by aligning the three slots on the AirTag with the three tabs on the cover. 
  7. Press down on the cover and rotate it clockwise until it stops the rotation. 
  8. Set up the AirTag again on your device. 

4. Re-Pair AirPods

  1. Start by opening the Settings menu.
  2. After that, navigate to the Bluetooth section.
    Opening Bluetooth Settings
    Opening Bluetooth Settings
  3. There, tap on the i icon next to your AirPods.
    Navigating to Paired AirPods Settings
    Navigating to Paired AirPods Settings
  4. Then, tap the Forget This Device option.
    Forgetting Paired Device
    Forgetting Paired Device
  5. Once you remove the AirPods, pair them again with your phone. 

5. Update Find My App

  1. Open up the App Store on your device.
    Opening App Store
    Opening App Store
  2. Search for the Find My app in the App Store.
  3. Then, tap on the Update option to install the available updates.

These solutions should enable you to handle the Unknown Accessory Detected alert on your iPhone. To prevent the notification from appearing incorrectly in the future, make sure the Find My app is up to date and your AirTag or AirPods are not running into connectivity issues. 

Unknown Accessory Detected - FAQ

What causes the Unknown Accessory Detection alert?

This alert is part of the privacy features on your iPhone which pops up when you are in the vicinity of an AirTag that does not belong to your Apple ID.

How do I stop these notifications from appearing?

If you wish to completely stop receiving these notifications on your iPhone, you can do so via the Settings > Notifications > Tracking Notifications option.


Abdullah Iqbal

Abdullah is a Google IT certified Help Desk Technician with extensive experience in providing technical support to system users. He has a proven track record of effectively resolving IT issues, and is adept at working with tools like Jira and ZenDesk to efficiently manage support tickets. Abdullah is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and constantly seeks to improve his skills and knowledge through professional development opportunities.