Apple AirTag VS Tile…. Which One Can Help You To Find Your Stuff Better?

After I posted my Apple AirTag review, I got requests asking me to compare the AirTag to Tile. The question that was being asked was simple. Which one can help to find your stuff better. I suspected that I knew what the answer was going to be. But before I get to the experiments and the results, let’s first get some background.

Tile according to their “About” page have sold 30 million of the devices worldwide. But that doesn’t mean that they have thirty million active users who run the Tile app and can help you to find your stuff should you lose it. In fact, finding an active user count is pretty impossible. So it’s an open question as to how many users can help you to find your stuff. Having said that, according to the Tile app I have 2676 Tile users in my area of Toronto. Contrast that with Apple who has a billion or so Apple devices out there. All of whom can passively find an AirTag whether the owners of those devices know it or not. So in theory the advantage goes to Apple. But that’s theory and reality are often very different. So let’s look at the contenders before I speak of how I tested this.

On the left is the Tile Pro and on the right is the Apple AirTag. The idea was that I would drive them to a location that had a lot of people which was a busy parking lot that was in the middle of the Old Mill Parkette which is part of the Humber River Trail in west end Toronto while my iPhone was in airplane mode. I then parked and walked at least 1 kilometer away. Next I would take the iPhone out of airplane mode, place both devices into lost mode and see which one was found quicker. Now this was a good plan, but something really interesting happened. When I took my phone out of airplane mode 12 minutes after walking away from the car, the Apple AirTag was already spotted by an Apple user 10 minutes before. So I didn’t even have a chance to put it into lost mode before it was located. But in the interest of science, I put the Tile into lost mode and waited to be found. Except that it was never found. I walked away from the car and back in a walk that took over an hour and it never was found. Except when I walked up to the car. That was the only time that I was alerted that the Tile was found.

I was thinking that I didn’t give the Tile a fair shot. So I changed locations and repeated the experiment. This time I tried the experiment in Downtown Toronto. Specifically Yonge-Dundas Square which even in the middle of a semi-lockdown was pretty busy. Again, I brought the devices there with my phone in airplane mode and hid them. Then walked away at least 1 kilometer. Yet again by the time I got to that distance and took my iPhone 12 Pro out of airplane mode, the Apple AirTag was already found. This time it was found within 2 minutes of it being left. Again I put the Tile into lost mode and waited for it to be found. But again it wasn’t found. I waited an hour before I finally gave up.

I believe that seeing as I got similar results twice speaks to the fact that Apple AirTag is the tracker to use if you want to find something. Tile simply couldn’t deliver a result in either location. And I suspect that if I repeated this in other locations, I would get the same results. This likely highlights why Tile is so freaked out about Apple entering this market. Apple can clearly dominate this market without trying. That will benefit Apple users and keep in mind that you can likely copy and past this result for any other tracker that leverages the Find My network. Which means it might be game over for Tile.

2 Responses to “Apple AirTag VS Tile…. Which One Can Help You To Find Your Stuff Better?”

  1. […] Straight Talk About Information Technology From A Nerd Who Speaks English « Apple AirTag VS Tile…. Which One Can Help You To Find Your Stuff Better? […]

  2. […] that I like about the Apple AirTag is the fact that Apple’s Find My Network is huge and from my testing, makes your stuff insanely easy to find. The downside to the Apple AirTag is that there is only one […]

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