Tile’s New Trackers Are a Whole Lot Like AirTags

Tile’s New Trackers Are a Whole Lot Like AirTags
The new Tile Pro (centre) with the Tile Slim and Sticker. (Photo: Tile)

When Apple’s AirTags launched earlier this year, it seemed like Apple had come to eat Tile’s lunch. So it’s not surprising that Tile’s revamping its Bluetooth tracker lineup with some awfully similar features, as well as a new ultra-wideband device called Tile Ultra.

For starters, each tracker in Tile’s lineup — the Pro, Mate, Slim, and Sticker — now comes with IP67 water resistance. The Tile Pro has an entirely new design that looks like a key fob. Tile says that this was meant to make it easier to find. Otherwise, its 120 m Bluetooth range, ringer volume, and 1-year replaceable battery remain the same. Meanwhile, Tile’s boosted the range for the Mate, Slim, and Sticker up to 76 m, and given all three a louder ring and up to three years of battery life. The Sticker also has a slightly new design, where the button now rests on the right side.

You can now scan a QR code on lost Tile trackers. You can include your contact information, or if not, the finder will see generic information about your Tile device. (Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo) You can now scan a QR code on lost Tile trackers. You can include your contact information, or if not, the finder will see generic information about your Tile device. (Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo)

One thing all the trackers now have in common is a new QR code on the back, which enables a new feature called Lost and Found. In the event you lose a Tile tracker, you can now provide your contact information and a short message. If someone finds your device and scans the code, they’ll then see your information so they can reach out to report it found. If you don’t provide any contact details, the finder can only see general information about the Tile. In the meantime, the Tile Network (which is the company’s version of Apple’s FindMy network) will continue searching for your tracker and notify you once found. The finder will also be alerted that you might be able to see the device’s location. If you’re at all familiar with AirTags, this is similar to Apple’s Lost Mode, which allows anyone with an NFC device to tap a found AirTag to see the owner’s contact info. Apple’s FindMy network also works in the background to ping FindMy-enabled devices to track down your lost AirTag.

Tile is also introducing an abuse prevention feature called Scan and Secure. The company says it was designed to help prevent its products from being misused to track people, including victims of domestic abuse, without their consent. The feature will allow anyone with the Tile app — even if they don’t have an account — to scan and detect whether an unknown Tile device is in their vicinity. The feature was reportedly created with guidance from advocacy groups and will be available to Android and iOS users in early 2022. While Tile didn’t explicitly say so, this comes after several reviewers and advocacy groups raised the alarm about AirTags easily being misused to stalk someone without their knowledge.

Tile is also introducing the Tile Ultra, a new ultra-wideband compatible tracker. The main selling point of this particular tracker is a “precise finding experience using augmented reality.” This is Tile’s version of Apple’s Precision Finding feature for AirTags. The big difference is that Tile’s version will work with both iOS and Android, and the company says it’s been working closely with Google to “ensure an optimal experience on Android 12″ as well as other ultra-wideband-capable phones.

It looks mighty similar to Apple's Precision Finding feature.  (Image: Tile) It looks mighty similar to Apple’s Precision Finding feature. (Image: Tile)

In a briefing, Tile was adamant that it’s been working on these features for a while, and also emphasised its platform-agnostic approach. Overall, these new additions help make Tile’s entire lineup more competitive against AirTags, especially since their best features work across both iOS and Android.

The Tile Ultra won’t be available until early 2022, but you can buy the rest of the revamped Tile lineup starting today at Tile.com and other major retailers. The Pro and Mate are available in black and white, and cost A$48 and A$34), respectively. The A$48 Slim and A$41 Sticker are available in black.