lose your heart, your inhabitions, or your nerve, but never your “stuff” By Alison Blackman
Do you misplace things? I know I do, all the time. Sometimes I even have to call my phone to find my phone! But now I have TILE, a little app in a square tile charm that does it for me. Tile is clever, inexpensive, easy to use, and if it takes a village sometimes to really find a truly lost item, you can have that, too! Basically, you download the Tile app on your android or Iphone device and get the Tile synced, and then once the TILE is activated (takes less than a minute) and attached to something, it’s a bit like a homing device.
For example, you’re getting ready to go out and you just can’t remember what you did with your purse, phone, wallet, keys…if the item has a TILE charm activated and attached (you can stick it on something or just hang it like on the keyring in the photo, if it is close by (Tile’s Bluetooth range can extend up to 100 ft when there is a clear line of sight from the device to the Tile), you can easily find your device because nearby Tiles within Bluetooth range are easily identified with a green circle around them on the app’s list view. Bluetooth is most effective within 30 ft, depending on the environment. To find that lost item you simply tap on the Tile you have assigned to that item from the list view in the app and the tile will play a tune, literally calling out for you. In fact,as you get closer, the app’s tracking circle fills in, telling you that you’re getting closer.
However, it you are not near the item, the app can still help you. It will automatically record the last place your phone saw your Tile. If you have to retrace your steps, it’s good to know where to start walking.
And if you are really, really lost (say you left your phone in that bookstore, somewhere) and any Tile community member walks past your things, you will automatically see a location update on the app. You can also receive an email notification as soon as your item is spotted. Your missing items are for your eyes only. While other Smartphones will be aiding your search, their owners won’t be, so it’s completely secure. This is relatively new, so as the community of Tile users grows, so will it’s usefulness from “the group.” Plans are also underway to let you share Tile access with people you trust, so that they can help you stay on top of your treasures, too.
It is such a clever item. I couldn’t wait to test it. Setup was totally easy. I downloaded the app from the Play Store for Android on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (took a second). Filled in a bit of information, and that was it. Then I pressed the e on the tile itself, activating it and syncing it to my phone (that was just a couple of seconds, literally). I attached my Tile to my keychain, then pretended not to be able to find my keys. The Tile did seem to know my basic location, and I was able to find my keychain! There are no batteries to deal with, no charger, it’s tough, small and even water-resistant.
If you want to see Tile being activatedand i action Watch this Video
Alas, like anything new, not everything seems to work perfectly. My home address was off by a couple of streets and nothing I could do would change it. Worse than mystifying, if Tile doesn’t know my home address accurately, how accurate will it be with other addresses that I don’t know as well? I didn’t want to actually leave something somewhere to find out. But I wondered, would Tile send me somewhere that my items really wasn’t? Close but no cigar? Also the music that Tile makes is hard to hear in a quiet room let alone muffled in a purse and impossible if you are in a noisy place. You would be able to see the circle on the app showing you that you were getting closer, but you couldn’t hear the music from the Tile, leading you to your item. Any devices that do not have Bluetooth 4.0 or BLE, will not work with Tile, because these handsets do not have the hardware to communicate with the Tile hardware or companion app.
The good news is that if Tile does work with your iOS or Android device, you can add up to eight Tiles to your account (on Android hardware, you will only be able to connect to between four and six Tiles at once, depending on your device. Once you have connected to the maximum number of Tiles on your device, you will see a non-rotating dotted circle around other Tiles in the vicinity. Tap on one of those Tiles to initiate a connection. This will cause one of the previously connected Tiles to become disconnected, in order to make room for the Tile that you just tapped on). Also, the Mark as Lost feature didn’t seem to work on my Android Galaxy S4d phone. Maybe it was “pilot error” on my part, or the fact that my phone isn’t specifically listed, but I still haven’t gotten that feature to work.
Here are the devices upon which Tile Works as of now:
Supported Apple Devices using iOS 7 and 8 (download the app on the Apple App Store)
- iPhone 4s
- iPhone 5, 5c, 5s
- iPhone 6, 6 Plus
- iPad Air
- iPad Mini
- iPad 3rd Generation
- iPad 4th Generation
- iPod Touch
Supported Android Devices using 4.4 or higher (KitKat or Lollipop) (Download the app on the Google Play Store)
- Samsung Galaxy S5
HTC One M8
LG Nexus 4
LG Nexus 5
*I downloaded the app on my Samsung Galaxy S4, If your device is not on this list but uses Android 4.4 and Bluetooth 4.0, there is a good chance Tile will work. As I mentioned, some things didn’t really perform but that might be due to my phone’s software.
The bottom line: The Tile is a nifty idea, and it’s not terribly expensive, especially if it saves you from losing something precious and a lot more expensive. You can get one Tile for $25.00 with free shipping. It’ll work for about a year. For multiples, try the 8 pack for $130.00 and save 35%. For more information you will want to visit the Tile Web Site