Viewing 34 posts - 1 through 34 (of 34 total)
  • Apple Air Tags but no iPhone, or Tile (luggage tracking)
  • vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    If I had an iPhone, an Air Tag would be the obvious solution for tracking my bike as luggage when I fly, but I don’t have an iPhone sooo…
    (a) I understand there are some Android apps for this, but what are the limitations?
    (b) if an Air Tag won’t work, what are the limitations for Tile or similar. Again, specifically in the context of tracking my bike

    Secondary use case will be for tracking my bike should it be stolen so this isn’t about mis-placing your keys at home!

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Chipolo do Apple and Android versions of their One tracker. It’s very simple, just a plastic disk with a keyring hole on one side, and they can be easily popped open to change the battery, which is a standard CR2032. If you check their site out, they often do special offers of a set of four with a hefty discount.

    https://chipolo.net/en/

    The limitations of any of the non-Apple trackers is their inability to use Apple’s near-field technology, which is more sophisticated than the basic Bluetooth technology that all the rest use. However, Apple, Google, Tile, Chipolo and a couple of other manufacturers have got together to develop a cross-manufacturer solution to the problem of bad actors using BT trackers for unsavoury purposes, something that Apple have already done a lot to solve, but none of the others had, until now.

    Oh, and the limitations of using an AirTag with the Android app is that it requires the app to be used on a lot of phones to be properly supported and effective, which is obviously the case with AirTags, because they can ping off anyone nearby with an iPhone, and there are tens of millions of those worldwide, but not Android phones with the AirTag app. The Chipolo Android tag linked to should ping off Android phones, although I’ve not read the details.

    I’ve got a couple of AirTags, four Chipolo Ones and one of their wallet cards, and eight Tile tags with replaceable batteries that were leftover promo items from work that had been left in a cupboard and forgotten.

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    Hmmm, do those Chipolo really work like Air Tags when you’re outside Bluetooth range of your own (Android) phone?
    Cos Air Tags will use ANY recent iPhone to connect to an Air Tag…

    (I also question how honest Chipolo are by implying that you can use one of their tags to control the shutter of a 30+ year old Canon AE1 camera!)

    simon_g
    Full Member

    Yep, the power of the Airtags is having everyone else’s iPhone do the tracking bit. I had a Tile for a couple of years before airtags were a thing and it was incredibly rare for another Tile user to pass and update the location of it.

    Unfortunately while there’s ways to read a lost airtag, or get warned of one following you around on Android, there’s no way to set one up without an Apple device.

    dangeourbrain
    Free Member

    an Air Tag would be the obvious solution for tracking my bike as luggage when I fly,

    I’m going to have to ask, as I’ve wondered this quite a lot since this made the news during the great luggage loss of last year…

    What purpose does this actually serve? I mean, the bike either gets to where you’re going and is made available to collect or it doesn’t. Knowing its in the same airport doesn’t help if the handlers “can’t find it” knowing its arrived in Istanbul when you landed in indiana doesn’t help.

    It’s just something else to get angsty over isn’t it?

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    I don’t know how far along this has gone but a network of billions of phones would be impressive.

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/01/google-plans-airtag-clone-will-track-devices-with-3-billion-android-phones/

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    vlad_the_invader

    If I had an iPhone, an Air Tag would be the obvious solution for tracking my bike as luggage when I fly, but I don’t have an iPhone sooo…

    I’ve never used these, so don’t know what is required and how much faff it would be but do you have any relatives/friends with an iphone who could track your airtag on their device when the bike is in transit?

    Kramer
    Free Member

    For those asking what the benefit is of having AirTags when you go abroad, you know when it’s loaded on to the plane, which takes some of the stress out. Admittedly it’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s an added bonus. Similarly at the other end it helps to track down my bike bag at baggage reclaim, and to know when it’s about to come out, rather than lurking anxiously next to the baggage door.

    OP, as far as I know, the alternatives are not ubiquitous enough to be of much use for minute by minute tracking, which is what you’d need for the use case you describe.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    For those asking what the benefit is of having AirTags when you go abroad, you know when it’s loaded on to the plane, which takes some of the stress out.

    Yep, you can see your bag / bike loaded and unloaded and pretty much know where it is when waiting for it to finally appear on the conveyor belt…

    The main advantage of Airtag, over Tile etc, is that Apple make all iPhones listen for Airtags 24/7 (unless you turn off bluetooth), so there is no configuration or App needed for all the millions of passive users who track your tag for you.

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    What purpose does this actually serve? I mean, the bike either gets to where you’re going and is made available to collect or it doesn’t. Knowing its in the same airport doesn’t help if the handlers “can’t find it” knowing its arrived in Istanbul when you landed in indiana doesn’t help.

    Well, I was intending to mount the Air Tag to the bike so if it’s stolen some time whilst I’m on holiday (or back home), at least I’m got a fighting chance of its location being useful to the authorities…or take matters into my own hands 😉

    (Yes, I know…I’d have to hope any potential thief is too dumb to work what the buzzing noise is…)

    I’ve got several friends who have iPhones and Mrs Vlad has an ancient iPhone 7 for work (that she doesn’t really want to take on holiday with her, surprisingly) so I guess one of those options might work

    footflaps
    Full Member

    (Yes, I know…I’d have to hope any potential thief is too dumb to work what the buzzing noise is…

    Quite easy to disable the buzzer in an Airtag, lots of YT videos on the subject.

    5lab
    Full Member

    the trouble with Tile is it needs someone nearby to have the app. There’s a lot more people with apple phones than there are android users with tile, so 3rd party tracking is way stronger. Tile is useful for finding your keys round the house though

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    footflaps
    Full Member
    (Yes, I know…I’d have to hope any potential thief is too dumb to work what the buzzing noise is…

    Quite easy to disable the buzzer in an Airtag, lots of YT videos on the subject.

    Oh, interesting…wanders off…

    Greybeard
    Free Member

    the bike either gets to where you’re going and is made available to collect or it doesn’t

    Knowing where it is if it doesn’t turn up could be very useful. You can hassle the airline to get it to you, and find out when they think they can do it. Then you know whether to stay near the airport, go to your destination and hire a bike, etc. If it’s lost, it’s probably because the labels came off, so the airline won’t know where it, but if you have a photo and know the approx location, surely it must help?

    finephilly
    Free Member

    Airtag and Tile both use bluetooth, so basically the same thing. The antitheft devices (on cars) usually have GPS, GSM and RFID so they can pinpoint exactly where something is, even if countermeasures (like parking in a tunnel/cellphone jammers) have been used. This does make the minimum size too large for concealment on a bike, though.
    I would go for a Tile and GPS tracker as a security measure.
    or get a cheaper bike.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    Airtag and Tile both use bluetooth, so basically the same thing

    Not at all.

    All iPhones listen out for Airtags 24/7 and report their location – it’s built into the OS by Apple.

    A Tile is only detected by an iPhone with the Tile app installed and the Tile app running.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    An interesting aside, technically Airtags / Tile etc aren’t permitted in checked luggage on flights as:

    a strict interpretation of these ICAO guidelines could mean that activated AirTags in checked luggage are a violation of the “dangerous goods” safety standard.

    The last time we flew (Feb 2023, Jet2) the check-in lady at Stansted specifically said ‘No Airtags’ in checked luggage, which we just ignored. Flying back, there was no mention at Geneva….

    Are airlines banning Apple AirTags? Here’s the complete story

    finephilly
    Free Member


    @footflaps
    yea, they both use bluetooth. It’s just setup differently, as you pointed out

    Andy_Sweet
    Free Member

    You’ll do very well to get anyone at an airline to pick up a phone these days. There’s no way they send people looking for lost luggage because a punter has turned detective and is telling them where to look.

    I speak as someone whose luggage went missing for a week recently. They knew exactly where it was throughout. They even texted links so you could track it.

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    Samsung do their equivalent- a Galaxy Smart Tag.
    Whilst it’s still on Bluetooth and doesn’t use Apple’s near-field / ‘everybody is in’ approach, they’re probably better than Tile and Chipotle, simply as there Re shedload more Samsung users around the world, so the probability is higher that someone else will be signed up and acting as a ‘collector’ for tag locations.

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    …simply as there Re shedload more Samsung users around the world, so the probability is higher that someone else will be signed up and acting as a ‘collector’ for tag locations.

    Unfortunately, I’m not one of them! (Mines a Pixel). Also, when I looked a Samsung’s, I got the impression it only actually worked on Samsung Galaxy phones with Smart Things installed and running (so probably a smaller sub-set of all Samsung) and it wasn’t clear (to me, anyway) whether these form a huge network like iPhones do…

    Google are rumoured to have a solution nearly ready for announcement (possibly baked into Android 14) but as I go on holiday next week, that’s not much use to me!

    CountZero
    Full Member

    An interesting aside, technically Airtags / Tile etc aren’t permitted in checked luggage on flights as:

    a strict interpretation of these ICAO guidelines could mean that activated AirTags in checked luggage are a violation of the “dangerous goods” safety standard.

    Completely bogus that. The airlines were so embarrassed at their inadequate baggage handling, with entire corridors full of bags, and truck loads of baggage being shipped off-site and being dumped in random locations, including empty offices, that they made up a totally fictional story about AirTags being dangerous because ‘Lithium-ion batteries’. Yes, they have those batteries, but they’re non-rechargeable button cells which have no issues at all. When that fact was pointed out by a whole bunch of people, they were forced to back down. I have friends in New York who travel by air a lot, and everything they have luggage-wise has AirTags in, they won’t travel without them.

    There’s a bunch of different ways to mount AirTags on bikes – there are rear reflectors that you can hide one inside, bottle cages that have a fitting where a tag goes between the cage and frame, I think there are stem caps that can hold one; not entirely sure about that one, but I’ve seen lots of different answers to securely mounting one that’s pretty stealthy.

    Both my AirTags are on my car keys, basically because they’re bloody expensive things to replace these days, about £250-350 each, so crucial to have the most efficient tracking system on. Everything else is things like sunglasses, other spare sets of keys, etc. My AirTags are both in waterproof cases made by Elevationlab, they’re a very tough plastic, with an O-ring seal between the two halves, and they’re bolted together with stainless steel Torx bolts screwing into brass fittings. Best cases I’ve found, most silicon ones are crap, they just fall apart in a couple of months.

    Here you go, they do a cage mounting as well as the keyring

    TagVault: Bike V2

    dangeourbrain
    Free Member

    I have friends in New York who travel by air a lot, and everything they have luggage-wise has AirTags in, they won’t travel without them.

    I’ve friends in new York who travel a lot and won’t fly without going to church before and after.
    I’ll be honest I think God is more likely to help them get their luggage back from an airline outside of their normal process.

    I accept being able to see your luggage depart & arrive may be beneficial for some people though.

    Obviously largely irrelevant of the OP is looking for a theft protection thing.

    sl2000
    Full Member

    Google are rumoured to have a solution nearly ready for announcement

    It’s been announced: https://blog.google/products/android/google-android-safety-features/ | https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/05/bluetooth-tags-for-androids-3-billion-strong-tracking-network-are-here/

    Tags shipping ‘mid July’.

    batsforeyes
    Free Member

    You know tile isnt a phone, its a tracking device. You can use tile with any android device so you should be fine with getting a tile one.

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    sl2000
    Full Member
    Google are rumoured to have a solution nearly ready for announcement

    It’s been announced: https://blog.google/products/android/google-android-safety-features/ | https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/05/bluetooth-tags-for-androids-3-billion-strong-tracking-network-are-here/

    Tags shipping ‘mid July’.

    Oh, interesting. Based on that article the Chipolo tags (assuming you can actually get hold of the correct <newer> type) would work identically to the Air Tags using any Android phone. Pity I’ve learnt this too late for my holiday!

    The Tile tags, it seems, still only work on Android phones which have the Tile app installed. Maybe they’ll do an upgrade which makes them work with Googles “Find my device”…

    mlltt
    Full Member

    Got home from holiday and my chipollo one point (android )I ordered last June has arrived 😂

    Anyone else have one? Are they actually any good for luggage tracking?

    CountZero
    Full Member

    I’ve friends in new York who travel a lot and won’t fly without going to church before and after.
    I’ll be honest I think God is more likely to help them get their luggage back from an airline outside of their normal process.

    Seeing as how God is an imaginary construct, I’d be putting my faith in something that I actually know that works. The actual fact that a number of people who had AirTags in luggage that airline baggage people literally dumped in random empty offices around London, and that enabled the owners to track their luggage to specific rooms within buildings, tends to indicate that the system works. Praying to some random deity, highly unlikely.

    My friends always travel BA Business Class, so probably less likely to actually need to use their AirTags, but they have them all the same – I’ve picked them up from Heathrow, fitting their luggage into my car was like a game of Tetris, they don’t just have carryons!

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Here’s an example of an AirTag being used to recover millions of dollars worth of stolen trade equipment…

    https://mashable.com/article/apple-airtags-hidden-police-theft-case

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    For Samsung users, they do a ‘Smart Tag’

    Whilst I completely agree thst Apple is ahead, particularly as all users of an Apple phone are automatically enrolled as ‘finders’, in the Samsung Smart Things app, this can be a enabled for those using it. I of course don’t know the extent to which users have enabled this (would have been better to be a act-to-disable function… bit like how organ donation should be).

    The other alternative for say a bike in a bag or bike box  when travelling would be something like a PitPat dog tracker – as that works using IoT, so again isn’t dependent on a close bluetooth signal. Not cheap (£100 – £150+ when I got one) but compared to a £5k-£10k bike and a holiday or race ruined, not too bad.  And you can use it on a Spaniel afterwards!

    bigdugsbaws
    Free Member

    Theres an android air tag equivalent coming out soon, but in the interim I stuck an old mobile in my bike box and used the find my device network to locate.

    10
    Full Member

    I’ve used a Tile for tracking a bike bag. That bag got delayed and arrived 2 days later. I found that while it was at an airport it was updating it’s position. I’m guessing that there are a number of people adding trackers to their bags and that increases the number of localized Tile apps.

    finephilly
    Free Member

    Well, i learnt recently that newer phones also employ ultra-wideband technology. It has a similar range to BT but is accurate to within a few cm. That includes airtags…

    vlad_the_invader
    Full Member

    but in the interim I stuck an old mobile in my bike box and used the find my device network to locate.

    Good idea. Any idea how much power it consumed whilst travelling ? Ive got an old mobile I could use for that (I think) but the battery life is terrible…

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