The Tile Tracker

We’ve all lost an item or two we wish we could get back. I know I am always losing the TV remote or misplacing my keys in the house. You might have lost a wallet, purse, or smartphone either in the apartment or while out shopping. A frantic search then ensues because a misplaced remote might mean missing your favorite show and a misplaced wallet or purse could mean a loss of time and money. You can call your phone and might be able to find it but how do you call the keys or your purse? Bluetooth Tile trackers are the answer.

What are Tile Trackers?
If you need to search for lost keys or a remote in an apartment, a simple key fob with a remote control button is perfect. A Tile tracker connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, The Tile app monitors, and displays each tile’s connection status. When the Tile tracker is in contact, you can call it with the app and find it by the sound of the melody it plays. You can also reverse the process using a button on the Tile tracker to find your phone.

The smartphone app works in the background, periodically locating the Tiles with the help of GPS and saving the coordinates of the phone. If the connection with the tracker is interrupted, you can use the app to see on the map where and when the Tile tracker was last connected. The trackers themselves do not have a GPS module.

What does it look like?
There are currently four Tile tracker versions; the Tile Pro, Mate, Slim, and Sticker. Each model has a different strategic design. Each has a minimalist look, with a sleek, smooth matte finish. The Tile is suitable for any fashion, yet doesn’t overwhelm anyone’s personal style.

Tile Pro
Tile Pro
Tile Mate
Tile Mate
Tile Slim
Tile Slim
Tile Sticker
Tile Sticker

The housing of each Tile tracker is quite durable. The Pro and Mate models are both water-resistant and have 1-year replaceable batties. The Slim and Sticker models are waterproof and have 3-year batteries.

The Pro and the Mate are both ideal for keys, backpacks, suitcases, athletic gear, or anything else you value. Since the Mate is a bit smaller it can be placed in a wallet. The size of your residence, as well as other factors, may play into which Tile you purchase. The Pro tile has a detection range 400ft range and the loudest of announcement rings amongst the Tile group. The Mate has a 200ft. range and while not quite as loud still has a loud ring.

Tile Pro BackPack Sample
Tile Mate Purse Sample

The Slim model is the approximate size of a credit card. It is convenient to carry it in a wallet, purse, or stick it to something valuable, a tablet or laptop, with double-sided tape. Its detection range and ring are the same as the Mate at 200ft. with a loud ring.

Tile Slim Wallet Sample

The Sticker is roughly the size of a U.S. quarter and twice a thick. It can easily be attached to things like remotes, bikes, golf carts, motorized wheelchairs, expensive tools, and more. The Tile Sticker has a detection range of 150ft. and don’t forget it’s waterproof.

Tile Sticker Tool Sample

All these devices have a button that is used to call the phone. So not only can you find your Tiled devices, they can help you by audibly ringing your phone (even if only set to vibrate) if they are close enough.

What can you do?
To use Tile trackers, you must install the application of the same name on your smartphone or tablet. The minimum requirements of the current version of the Tile application for a smartphone are Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and the operating system iOS 8.1 or higher or Android as of 4.4.2. Apple Watch compatibility is guaranteed when connected to an iPhone with iOS 8.2 or later. I have tested the Android version of the app.

The first tile that is automatically added to the app is the smartphone itself (you can remove it from the list in the settings menu). The rest you have to add yourself, just activate them by pressing the button twice and bring them closer to the phone. NFC technology is not required for pairing, the app registers a new tile if the Bluetooth signal is strong enough. For each tile, you can set a name and category, upload a photo from the tracker, or (more logical) the thing it is attached to. Just remember once the Tile is activated it can’t be turned off.

Any of the linked tiles (and you can link up to 10 of them) is easy to find. If a Tile is in contact, just select it from the list, hit the green “Search” button and you will hear it. If this is Slim and it’s in your wallet, and the wallet is in your coat pocket, and the coat is in a locked closet at the other end of the apartment, then the tune may not be heard. But if you know for sure that the keychain is somewhere nearby and its icon is in a green circle, you can play hot-cold. Clicking the tracker icon above the “Search” button turns it into an 8 segment signal strength indicator. Moving around the apartment and tracking the level, you can get closer to the Tile until you hear it.

If the Tile is not connected to the phone (its icon is highlighted in gray). You will still be able to see on the map where it was last connected and, if necessary, build a route to it.

If your lost item isn’t found at the last recorded location, you can report the loss to the Tile network. The in-app tracker will have a Notify When Found button instead of a Search button. By clicking on it, you “declare in the wanted list” your item, and as soon as someone with a running Tile application on a smartphone or tablet walks past it, you will automatically receive a message about the location with new coordinates. It could work if you ask your friends on social media to install the Tile app on their smartphones to help you find your missing person.

You can’t just pick up and turn off the activated Tile. After being linked to an account, it’s always on, and its single button only serves to call the phone. If you have a lot of trackers and you don’t use some of them, but you are not going to remove or replace them, you can simply hide (with the red Hide button – see above) any of the tiles, i.e. remove from the list and not track their status and position.

A new tile can not only be added to the app, it can also be replaced (Replace) with any of the tiles already attached: broken, downloaded, or irretrievably lost. For an old keychain, replacing is equivalent to deleting – if the lost and replaced Tile is suddenly found, it cannot be used.

But what if you need to transfer (sell, donate) a mosaic to another user? In this case, there is a re-registration or transfer procedure (Transfer). You must write a letter to technical support, in which you specify two email addresses (yours and the recipient’s), as well as the device identifier, which can be found in its properties in the application. Naturally, the recipient’s smartphone or tablet must have the Tile app registered at the address indicated in the letter.

Tile Pro
Tile Pro
Tile Mate
Tile Mate
Tile Slim
Tile Slim
Tile Sticker
Tile Sticker

How much do they cost?
One Mate Tile can be purchased for about $25.00. The Slim and Pro are $30 and $35 respectively while the Sticker is 59 for a set of 4. It is more cost-effective to buy the Tiles in sets of 4 or 8 pieces – there will be significant savings.

PROS:

  • Works great at home, work or gym;
  • You like a strict minimalist design;
  • Device can withstand the environment (and your children’s naughty hands);
  • Everyone’s on social media and might be able to help you find your missing device.

CONS:

  • Doesn’t work great if you lose items at the mall, airport, or out in public in general
  • With a Minimalist design comes minimal app customization.

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