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HomeGadgetsWhat are smart tags and do you need it?

What are smart tags and do you need it?

Should you buy a smart tag? Absolutely, yes. These devices are affordable, compact, and straightforward to set up, proving invaluable when you need them the most.

Smart tags excel at helping you keep track of your belongings. Whether you clip one to your keys, tuck it into your bag or suitcase, attach it to your briefcase, bike, or folder of important papers, or even secure it to your pet’s collar, a smart tag can do the job.

With an app on your phone, you can easily track the location of your smart tag in real time. Let’s explore how such a small device can transmit data and understand the range of its capabilities.

What are smart tags, and how does it work?

Smart tags are compact tracking devices that help you keep track of and find lost items. They’re based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, allowing them to stay connected to your smartphone within about 400 feet. Even outside this range, you can still track your smart tags.

These devices are small and often look like keychains. They’re commonly attached to keys, bikes, briefcases, and even pet collars.

Inside each tag, there’s a microchip that processes signals and sends information to your phone through a specialized app. They also have a small battery that powers the device, usually lasting about a year and can be replaced by the user.

How do they work? Smart tags use Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. When you attach a smart tag to an item, you pair it with an app on your phone. This app tracks the tag’s location. If you lose something, open the app, and it’ll show you the tag’s location on a map or make the tag beep loudly if it’s nearby but hidden, like under a sofa cushion.

Now, you might wonder, “What if the tagged item is far away, outside of Bluetooth range?” You’ll see the item’s last known location in your smart tag app. This last known location is essentially where your phone and the smart tag were last in range of each other.

But there’s more. Smart tag systems come with a community find feature. Here’s how it works: If you’ve marked your item as lost in the app, other users’ phones can detect your tag if they come near it, even if you’re not around. The app sends you the location of your tag anonymously. They won’t know they’ve found your tag, and you won’t know who helped you. It’s a community effort, using the network of all users to find lost items.

What smart tags are there?

I think it’s worth highlighting four smart tags and describing which might suit you best. The most popular smart tags are:

  • AirTag by Apple, which only works with iPhones through the Find My app.
  • Smart Tag 2 by Samsung, which only works with Galaxy smartphones.
  • Tile is a great alternative because it works with both Android and Apple devices. Tile even offers a subscription plan.
  • Chipolo is the best alternative because it works with both Apple’s Find My app and Google’s Find My Device app.

These smart tags vary slightly in features and functionality but operate on the same principle. And, of course, they’re suited for different devices. This is important to consider when buying.

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