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How many times have you found yourself a little flustered trying to find your keys, wallet, phone or even the TV remote? For some reason, these necessities always seem to disappear at the worst times and wind up in the most unusual places. I can’t be the only person on the planet who wanders around my house muttering angrily about my misplaced items and wishing I had tracking devices on all of them.
It turns out some very smart people made that possible with a nifty little gadget. About a year or so ago, my husband and daughter introduced me to the Tile, a small Bluetooth tracker and locator system that sounded too simple to me to really be effective.
Turns out I was wrong.
In my own experience, the Tile Mate Essentials Four-Pack, which you can pick up on Amazon for $79.99, is honestly worth every penny. In this set, you get two Tile Mates, one Tile Slim and one Tile Sticker, each of which work inside a radius of 250 feet from the smart device you’ve paired them with.
The Tile Mates are small square trackers with a keyring hole that you can attach to your keys, purse, backpack or anything portable you might carry regularly and misplace. The Tile Sticker is round and can adhere to a remote control, video game controller, charger or other similar device. Finally, Tile Slim is credit card-shaped and can slip right into your wallet, passport, luggage tag or even a book, if you tend to misplace those.
These Tile trackers are not rechargeable but have a non-replaceable battery that will last up to three years before you need to buy a new one.
How Does Tile Work?
To use Tile’s system, all you need is a smartphone, a Tile device and the item you want to track. Download the Tile app to your smartphone (either iOS or Android), then, connect your Tile device to the app using Bluetooth.
For example, I have a Tile Mate attached to my car keyring, as you can see below. In the Tile app, I connected the Tile Mate via Bluetooth and labeled it as “Keys,” so I can quickly access it in the app.
Tile can be used in a couple of different ways. First, let’s say I can’t find my car keys as I’m trying to rush out the door. I can open the Tile app, press the Find button, and the Tile Mate on my keyring will automatically engage.
This sends a signal from my phone to the Tile Mate device, which starts beeping loudly. That may sound pretty basic, but even if I can’t hear the tone, the app displays a signal strength that changes in real time as I get farther from or closer to the Tile Mate. Your phone will vibrate more the closer you get to the missing item.
It’s basically a high-tech version of the Hot and Cold game with spot-on accuracy.
One of my daughters lost her keys while hiking during a trip to West Virginia. She almost panicked, but remembered she had a Tile tracker attached. She activated it in the app, and, even though it was farther away than the advertised 250-foot range, her smartphone was able to show the last location of the Tile on the keychain. She backtracked to that area and found them pretty quickly. That saved her a lot of trouble — and me, too, because I’d have had to drive a few hours to pick her up otherwise!
You can also use the Tile tracker to locate your missing phone. Tile Mate has a button on it that I can touch twice and it will activate an alarm on my phone, even if it is in silent mode.
A new feature even allows users to input contact information that people will see if they find your lost Tile and scan the QR code on the back. So, not only is the Tile system helpful for users to locate their own items, but it also can help others return lost things to the rightful owner.
If you ask me, it’s totally worth the price for that type of peace of mind and convenience.