There are some mornings I need an alarm clock that will electrocute me to wake me up. Even if you wake up naturally before your alarm sounds, we all have setbacks getting ready to go somewhere. The pressure is on when you are already running late for work. But there is a glimmer of hope—that traffic won’t be that bad. That you can do at least the speed limit the entire way, and that you won’t come across any red lights or trains.
But then you experience the death of that hope if you then find that your keys are missing from their usual spot…
or the next best place you thought they would be.
Ever lose your purse or your wallet? Losing important things is never a fun experience, but you don’t have to anymore.
Method 1: TrackR
Never lose your keys or that wallet again with the help of TrackR tracking device and the associated app. The Bravo that you attach to your belongings is only about the size of a coin. Even though it is tiny, it allows you to:
- Ring your missing object.
- Ring your missing phone (even on silent mode).
- See the distance between the item and yourself.
- Gain the assistance of other Trackr users.
- And it can also notify you before you leave an object behind.
Or maybe it’s not an object you need it for. You can use it to track lost pets. Use on humans is not advised.
Step 1: Attach Bravo
Attach the bravo to the item you wish to track. TrackR is also offered in a size and shape that is easy to slip into your wallet.
Step 2: Download App
Install the TrackR app to your Android.
TrackR – Lost Item Tracker
Step 3: Register
Initially you will be asked to pick out which TrackR device you have. If you already have an account, you can tap Login to sync.
Step 4: Add & Activate
Add and activate new device(s). Press the Bluetooth Activation button.
Step 5: Ring Object(s)
Use the app to ring your object(s). You should be able to hear it as long as it is within 100 feet. (In practice, I could not get that range—more like 30. Perhaps conditions weren’t ideal though.)
Step 6: Ring Your Missing Phone
Press the button on your keychain TrackR. A noise will emit even if your phone is on silent.
Step 7: Gauge Distance
Use the app to display GPS coordinates.
Step 8: Crowdsource
Recruit others to help you find your device. They must have the app downloaded as well as have Bluetooth and Crowd GPS enabled. As long as those requirements are met, your object can be detected by other people’s apps, and these in turn send you the information on the item’s whereabouts.
Step 9: Ease Separation Anxiety
Within app settings you will find a place where you can activate alerts for when the object (such as your phone) and the bravo become separated. It can be set to emit a sound from the TrackR device and on your phone. No more leaving my phone at home when I have a 10-hour day at work.
Method 2: Tile
Tile also uses Bluetooth to track your items and is honestly quite similar, with the exception of a few characteristics you may find important. For one, at 90 decibels, it is a little easier to hear, maybe from a few rooms away. The Tile tracking device used also seems more durable than the bravos.
Tile seems to have a better Bluetooth range—really closer to the 100 feet advertised for both products. This is not to say that Tile is perfect or even better—battery replacement tends to be a little more costly.
Step 1: Attach Your Tile
The hole within each Tile makes it perfect to attach to keys, but you can also stick it to objects or place within crevices.
Step 2: Install the App
This app doesn’t have quite all of the settings TrackR offers, sadly. However, it also doesn’t seem to have some of the bugs that plague Android users.
Step 3: Sign Up
After signing up, you will just need to login. You will need an email and password.
Step 4: Enable Bluetooth & GPS
- Tap Continue and swipe through the tutorial.
- Tap Start Using Tile.
Step 5: Add Tile(s)
- You might be asked to confirm your email again. Press the E.
- Set the tile next to your phone for now.
Step 6: Ring the Item
Tap the Tile you want to ring within the app, then the green Find button.
Method 3: Chipolo
My husband actually bought me a Chipolo well before this article was written. I’m sure you can guess why—I lose a lot of stuff. I won’t rehash the identical features and methodology of this app, but I do think it is worth mentioning for its most notable feature—its range. In ideal conditions Chipolo can emit and receive signals up to 200 feet. Conditions must be perfect, of course.
Method 4: StickNFind
This is yet another very similar app in terms of features and how you use it. However, it has a few characteristics that the other don’t and a few downsides. Like TrackR’s separation alerts, StickNFind has a virtual leash option that warns you if the stickers (tracking devices) move away from your phone. The nice thing about this app is that you can determine the range of the virtual leash.
StickNFind is the only device on our list thus far equipped with a light. This can definitely come in handy if you lose something in the dark. The stickers also contain a buzzer, and you can track up to 20 items at once. Common complaints include difficulty using the associated app, range falling short of what’s advertised, and the app does not indicate the object’s distance from you.
Method 5: BlueBee 2
BlueBee 2 has many of the same traits as the other apps previously mentioned, but also a few unique ones. Installation and use is very similar. It can also help you take pictures by remotely activating your smartphone’s camera. And unlike most of the others, it comes equipped with a rechargeable battery. You can set your alarm ringtone to the one of your choosing.
You get to determine and adjust the security parameters for when an alert sounds that your object is too far away. The app comes with a colored radar system to assist you with your search for the object. You can only track up to eight items with BlueBee 2; substantially less than the above StickNFind.
The site is in French and at the time this article was written, they were updating their UK web store.
Get BlueBee 2 (French site) or several other retail websites
Note: The prices are displayed in euros.
As you can see, there are a variety of apps and tracking devices available, but they can vary in effectiveness and features. Setup is nearly identical for most, so ultimately your decision comes down to what features are important to you and how much you are willing to pay.
In terms of ratings and number of downloads, Tile does very well among users. However, lesser known apps like BlueBee 2 could still very well offer the niche features important to you, so check them all out.
The whole process requires minimal energy, so you shouldn’t notice a huge change in battery life due to having one of these apps on your phone, and if you do there is a bug. It’s easy for the original batteries within the tracking devices themselves to last up to a year. Some of these advertise GPS-like features, but many rely on Bluetooth alone.
Sure, you can try to track your vehicle with one of these, but odds are these are not connected to any satellite system that will do any real-time tracking. Nonetheless, they can be invaluable for keeping tabs on your phone, keys, wallet, and much more.
Tell us about your tracking device and app in the comments below.