New Yorkers Losing So Many AirPods in Subway Tracks That MTA is Considering a PSA to Warn Commuters

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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So many AirPods have been lost in New York City subway tracks in recent months that the MTA is considering initiating a public service announcement urging commuters to refrain from taking AirPods on or off while entering or exiting trains, a spokesperson for the transit agency told The Wall Street Journal.

Ashley Mayer recovered her AirPods with a broom and duct tape

The PSA would hopefully alleviate the delays caused by the numerous AirPods that fall between the cracks each day:
"They're tiny. They're hard to find," said Steven Dluginski, an MTA maintenance supervisor. Given the darkened tracks where they drop, he said, "the only saving grace is that they're white."

AirPod rescues from New York City subway tracks ramped up in March, when Apple released a new version, Mr. Dluginski said. This summer has been the worst, possibly because the heat and humidity on subway platforms makes the ears and hands of New Yorkers pretty sweaty, he guessed.

Transit workers use a pole that extends to about 8 feet and has two rubber cups on the end that can be squeezed together to grab small objects. The "picker-upper thing," Mr. Dluginski called it.

Around noon on a recent Thursday, Mr. Dluginski's team had received 18 requests to fetch lost items. Six were for AirPods. "It's job security, as far as we're concerned," the maintenance boss said.
While the location of AirPods can be tracked using the Find My iPhone app, the earphones often become trapped in hard-to-reach places due to their small size. This led The Wall Street Journal to highlight the extravagant measures that some customers have taken to recover their lost AirPods:
Passenger Ashley Mayer recently live-tweeted a track rescue in a lull between passing trains. One photo, featuring the caption "game on," showed her purchasing a broom and duct tape. She used the contraption to nab the AirPod from the tracks, which can be dotted with rats.
In an extreme case, well-known Apple analyst Gene Munster admitted that he has apparently lost 10 pairs of AirPods.

Apple charges $69 for a replacement AirPod in the United States, totaling $138 for a pair. Replacement charging cases are also available for $59, while the wireless AirPods charging case is sold separately for $79.

Paywalled article: America's Stormy Affair with Apple AirPods: Love 'Em and Lose 'Em

Article Link: New Yorkers Losing So Many AirPods in Subway Tracks That MTA is Considering a PSA to Warn Commuters
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,594
3,217
So the good news is that you only have to buy one if you lose one. If you lose both it's still a little bit cheaper because you don't need a new charging case.

I personally definitely won't buy any AirPods - not because I will lose them, but because I would constantly fear that I lose them. Got some good wireless headphones instead, with noise isolation and possibly better sound. Yes, they are a lot bigger.

Seeing the photo: Can you put AirPods in the washing machine or dish washer (and get them out in working condition)?
 

Jimmy Bubbles

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2008
571
822
Nashville, TN
Welp, this is it—the single best MR article ever written.

I know it's close to September 10, but I think we can pretty much shut things down now.
You'd think out of ALL users, they'd be the ones using the neck strap that keeps them attached as to not lose them like this. I wonder how many NY rats are running around with an AirPod, or even a pair of their own.
[doublepost=1567525270][/doublepost]Are we sure this isn't a Babylon Bee article?
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,600
1,921
People dropping and losing their AirPods? Weird. I've never had that problem with my EarPods and similarly wired ear phones.

Brilliant move from Apple though. More repeat sales from clumsy people who continually lose them.
 

G.McGilli

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2015
230
123
Just got back from 7 days in Manhattan. I've never seen that many Airpods in my life. Without fail - 1 in every 10 people had them passing by me. It was pretty amazing. I live in Vancouver Canada where I see maybe 10 - 20 pairs in an entire day. In NYC I was seeing that many every few minutes...
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,614
14,160
Central U.S.
In an extreme case, well-known Apple analyst Gene Munster admitted that he has apparently lost 10 pairs of AirPods.
This man has issues. Either that or way too much money to care. Probably both.

I wear my AirPods 4-8 hours per day, including around the track for an hour. I have really large ear canals that don't hold them, so I bought special dermal adhesive strips that keep them firmly in my ears. Definitely worth a few bucks and I only have to change them out every couple weeks. They fit in the charging case fine. I've never lost any, and I've had them since launch.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,712
7,046
Florida, USA
OK, if my AirPod look anything like that after retrieving it from a subway track, I would just cut my losses and purchase new AirPods. That’s pretty disgusting, even more so what is stuck next to the AirPod on the tape.
View attachment 855897
It is possible to clean things, you know. A paper towel and some alcohol will wipe off all the grime and kill any bacteria.

You should do this to your AirPods regularly anyway, as they can get nasty being in and out of your ears all the time.
 

ggibson913

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2006
833
288
OK, if my AirPod look anything like that after retrieving it from a subway track, I would just cut my losses and purchase new AirPods. That’s pretty disgusting, even more so what is stuck next to the AirPod on the tape.
View attachment 855897
Yeah I was gonna say. I haven't lost mine in the Subway but if I did, I likely wouldn't want it back given how filthy the tracks are and how non-water proof they are.