Everything You Need to Know about Tile GPSs, Including the Popular Tile Locator & How it Works


Over the past five years you may have noticed small white squares popping up on people’s keychains, luggage, and other common items. The Tile GPS lost item tracker has become quite the phenomenon.

With over 3 million unique item finds per day across 230 countries and territories, the Tile Bluetooth tracker has become a necessary peace of mind for many. People use Tile for keys and wallets of course, but they also use it to keep track of kids and pets.

Imagine being on vacation, and after a night out you’ve returned to your hotel room and realize your wallet is missing. It has your ID, credit cards and cash, and you’re in a panic. If you had a lost wallet tracker, you could immediately see you left it at a restaurant and go get it, saving the day.

That’s why many people love Tile and think it’s the best tracking device ever.

But, not all things are perfect, so in this Tile Bluetooth tracker review we’ll go over both the positives and negatives of this tracking device and the reasons not everyone thinks this is the best tile tracker on the planet.

tile gps tracker

Nobody Likes Losing Their Things

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets™, the GPS tracking device market is estimated to be worth 2.89 billion USD by 2023. That’s a lot of people not wanting to lose their stuff!

So, what is the Tile tracker, exactly? And how does the Tile tracker work?

Those are two of the many questions we’re going to answer in our review of the Tile GSP tracker. We’ll give you the truth about the Tile battery life, where you can buy Tile tracker, and what you need to know before you use it.

By the end of our Tile tracker review, you’ll not only know how to use this lost item tracker, you’ll also know the best Tile tracker to get for your specific needs.

See Also: Tile App Review: Everything You Need to Know about the Tile Tracker App



What is a Tile Tracker?

The Tile GPS didn’t become the best tracking device for millions overnight. The concept of a small “find my keys tracker” first came about from a husband trying to help his wife find her lost items.

After a successful crowdfunding campaign and good Tile reviews from the first customers, the Tile finder took off and is now a globally-known name. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, CA with another office in Portland, OR.

Tile Locator at a Glance:

  • Small square that easily attaches to items
  • Uses Bluetooth and GPS to track the item
  • Has a Tile tracker range of 100-200 feet
  • A community of Tile finders help locate others’ items in their range
  • Pressing the Tile tracking device can also find your phone
  • The Tile GPS tracker app runs in the background to track items


How Does the Tile Tracker Work?

Now that you know the answer to “What is a Tile tracker?”, let’s take a look at how it works.

One of the things that made the Tile GPS lost item tracker one of the best tracking devices available is the simplicity. It’s easy to use and you don’t have to be tech savvy at all.

You simply attach the Tile locator to the item you’d like to keep track of. One of the most common is a Tile keychain, but people use the Tile tracker for pets, as a lost wallet tracker, and even as a Tile car tracker.

Once the item is tucked into or attached to the item with a key chain or adhesive strip, you’re ready to open the key tracker app. This is the heart of the system.

The Tile tracking device app is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Tile Review – What Does the Key Tracking App Do?

There are three main things you can do in the Tile GPS app:

  • Find items within 100-200 feet by making them sound a tone
  • See where the item was last located within the Tile tracker range
  • Be part of the Tile GSP tracker “lost and found” community

One additional thing that is actually done from the Tile finder itself is to press it to cause your phone to make a sound if it happens to be misplaced.

You use the Tile finder app to “ping” your tile and cause it to make a sound so you can locate it if it’s nearby. The Tile GPS models have different ranges, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing the best model as a Tile dog tracker or Tile keychain.

The Tile Mate and Slim models have a 100 feet Tile tracker range and the Tile Sport and Style can ping up to 200 feet. More on the models and how they differ later in this Tile tracker review.

How Do You Use Tile GPS Tracker App?

Due to the range limit, you might have to move around your home or other area to find what you’re looking for. For example, if you use tile for keys, you may have to go room to room clicking the button on the Tile locator app. It will send a signal to your items to play a tone when you’re within the range.

The app also has a map with “last seen” feature. It shows you your Tile for keys or other items and when and where it was last seen within your Tile locator range. You can also see other people’s Tile tracking devices and use the app to let them know you found their item.

It’s important to leave the Tile Bluetooth tracker app open and running in the background if you want features like the “last seen” or community tracking to work.

Some users have been disappointed when they tried to use the Tile Bluetooth tracker to see where their item was last seen, only to find that it hasn’t been tracking it for days because they closed the Tile key tracker app.

A cool feature is that you can pair the Tile app with Amazon Alexa or Google Home to have them find you phone.

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Tile Tracker Review | The Positive

Now let’s get into what people are saying in Tile Reviews around the web, and what the ratings look like on sites like Amazon and PC Magazine. We’ll start with positive reviews and find out why people buy Tile trackers in multi-packs and use them for everything.

Online Tile Tracker Review & Ratings

  • PC Magazine, 4 out of 5
  • WIRED Magazine, 8 out of 10
  • Tom’s Guide, 8 out of 10
  • Tech Advisor, 9 out of 10

Best Tile Tracker Amazon Review Highlights

Here’s why reviewers think Tile is the best tracking device ever.

  • A lifesaver for those needing a “find my keys tracker”
  • Incredibly easy to use no matter your age
  • An excellent lost wallet tracker that makes life easier
  • An inexpensive tile tracker for pets
  • The best tracking device you can get for the price

What We Like about Tile GPS

We definitely agree that the ease of use is possibly the best feature. People find all types of imaginative ways to use the Tile keychain. They attach it to things like umbrellas and dog collars, using it as a Tile dog tracker.

You can also buy luggage tags that fit the Tile Slim model and adhesive strips to attach it to things like tortoises. Yes, that’s right, one pet owner wrote about using it to keep track of tortoises in her Tile bluetooth tracker review.

The pricing on the Tile Bluetooth tracker is also fairly reasonable and there is a nice selection of four different models.

  • Tile Mate – $20 for one (the original)
  • Tile Slim – $30 for one (thinner and larger)
  • Tile Sport – $25 for one (waterproof & rugged)
  • Tile Style – $25 for one (waterproof & stylish)

You can also save even more by buying the Tile locator in 2, 4 or 8 packs. So you can use Tile for keys, backpacks, iPads, or the ever popular, Tile tracker for pets to keep everything you love from getting lost.  

Related: TrackR vs Tile: Everything You Need to Know | Which One is Best, TrackR Bravo or Tile?



Tile Tracker Review | The Negative

You might be thinking, “Wow! That sounds perfect! But what’s the catch?”. As with just about all products there is a downside to the upside and the Tile Bluetooth tracker is no different.

We found a some themes mentioned over and over in the Tile review users gave on Amazon. Just as some swore that Tile is the best tracking device on the planet, others thought it was a waste of money.

Here is an overview of the negative and less than stellar Tile reviews and ratings.

Tile Tracker Review & Ratings (Lower end)

  • Greenbot, 3 out of 5
  • AT&T, 3.7 out of 5
  • Walmart, 3 out of 5

Poor Amazon Tile Review Lowlights

Here are reasons that people gave for disliking the product in their Tile tracker review.

  • Tile battery life is poor (1 year or less)
  • Sound is heard to hear
  • If the key tracker app isn’t running, your item isn’t tracked
  • The “find my phone” feature doesn’t always work
  • Waste of money for the short Tile GPS lifespan

What We Dislike about the Tile Locator

The biggest negative keeping this from being the ultimate best tile tracker on the shelf is the short Tile battery life. That might not be so bad if you could replace the Tile GPS tracker battery, but you can’t (or at least you aren’t supposed to).

The company notes the Tile battery life as about a year. They do try to take the sting out of the short Tile finder lifespan by allowing you to buy Tile tracker at a discounted price of up to 40% off through their reTile program. But, they only allow you to do that once in a year.

Many people, however, experience a lifespan of only a month or so that is most likely due to buying an older or used Tile Bluetooth tracker from someone other than the manufacturer.

There also seem to be a few bugs to work out with the phone finding feature, as many mentioned in their Tile review that it was “hit or miss” and didn’t always work. It’s possible that’s because the app wasn’t running in the background.

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What Types of Tile GPS Trackers are there?

Whether you’re using this lost item tracker as a Tile car tracker, Tile dog tracker, or to keep up with the last place you laid down your keys, you’ve got a few model options to choose from.

We touched on the Tile GPS models earlier, and we’ll give you a rundown below of each type so you can pick the perfect Tile finder for your stuff.

Tile Mate

Tile Mate is least expensive Tile GPS tracker. It’s white with matte silver and has an opening for a key chain, so it’s often used as the ultimate “find my keys tracker.”

It has a Tile tracker range of 100 feet and is water resistant, but not waterproof. It’s about the size of a typical keychain trinket, so it’s very easy to put on a number of items.

Tile Slim

For those that want to use the best tracking device they can find for a wallet, the tile Slim was designed for you. It’s the thickness of about two credit cards. And where the other Tile finders are a little too thick to be used as lost wallet trackers, the Slim is a perfect fit.

It’s also white with matte silver and significantly larger than the other Tile Bluetooth trackers. It’s the most expensive of the four, but the only one you can easily fit inside things like passports, luggage tags, and wallets.

tile tracker review

Tile Sport

For those items that get wet regularly or need a more rugged tracker to keep up with them, the Tile Sport is the best Tile tracker. It’s waterproof and has a dark slate and granite exterior that’s designed to take more abuse.

Along with the Tile Style, the Sport is part of the Pro Series, and has twice the Tile tracker range, at 200 feet, and twice the tone volume level.

Tile Style

There’s no reason that the best tracking device, according to many, can’t look good on your purse or glasses case. With a satin white exterior and champagne colored rim, the Tile Style is meant look fashionable.

“What Tile GPS? I’m just a gorgeous fashion accessory!”

The Tile Style, besides looking nice is also as powerful as the Tile Sport when it comes to the range and the extra sound level and is also waterproof.

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How Does the Tile Tracker Work with the Finder Community?

When you buy Tile tracker, you’re suddenly part of the “lost and found” community in 230 countries and territories. So the question of how you find items lost outside your Tile locator range is answered. Just put out an “SOS” to others that also own the Tile GPS.

You will see in some Tile Bluetooth tracker reviews that people worry about the privacy of such a feature. However Tile, Inc. allows you to remain anonymous both on the lost and found sides of the equation.

If you’ve lost an item and your Tile keychain is beyond your phone’s 100 to 200 ft range, you can use the Tile Finder app to select “Notify when found” and if another tile user finds it, the app will notify you and lead you to it.

Likewise, you might end up being a lifesaver for another Tile locator owner by finding their item and using the app to notify them and make their day.

Note: The Tile finder app has to be running in the background both for your own lost item tracking and any other Tile GPS tracking to work.



Tile Tracker Review Conclusion: Should You Get the Tile GPS Tracker?

If you spend a lot of time looking for keys, then the short Tile battery life of about a year might not matter to you. But if you tend not to lose things often, then it depends whether you think a $20-$30 per year “insurance policy” is worth not losing a wallet or other item.

Many owners find that this is the best tile tracker for multiple reasons, but most of all keeping the day from taking a horrible turn if something vital is lost, like car keys. And for them the price is worth it even if they have to buy another Tile locator in a year.

There are many heartwarming examples on the manufacturer’s website where people share their stories like using this GPS as a Tile car tracker to find their car in a parking garage, as well as finding their keys 3 months after losing them.

Well over 50% of Tile tracker reviews we read on Amazon, both good and bad, mention the short lifespan. Our advice to avoid getting only a fraction of the 1 year battery life is to either buy this best Tile tracker directly from the Tile website or a major retailer, like Best Buy.

Or, if you’re buying from an Amazon reseller, make sure you ask if it’s new and ever been used and read their Tile reviews. Otherwise you might never get to use it and wonder why everyone thinks it’s the best tracking device ever.

We think the Tile GPS tracker is pretty awesome, with just a few small drawbacks with the lifespan and need to keep the app running in the background. But overall it’s the best tile tracker for anyone of any age to use due to the simplicity.

If you’ve ever lost something important like a passport or wallet and could’ve found it immediately, then you know the value of the Tile and why so many think it’s the best tracking device ever.


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Image sources:

  • https://www.thetileapp.com/en-us/products
  • https://tileinc.app.box.com/s/tp2lik158nys5moe0nuz51az18vyh101/file/204556415913


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