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How to Find Your Wallet, Keys and Smartphone

by on January 23, 2014
in Time Savers, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Health and Home, Tips & How-Tos :: 8 comments

It never fails. I'm rushing out the door late to work and I can't find my keys or my wallet—and sometimes my smartphone. It's as if gremlins hid everything during the dead of night, though it's more likely the work of my kids in the case of my smartphone.

That's where tracking tags come in. All you have to do is adhere a small tracking tag on an item you habitually lose: your phone, the remote, the dog. Then, when it goes MIA, you can use either your smartphone or a locator unit to signal the tag to beep or flash a small LED light to signal its location.

There are two basic types of finders: Radio Frequency (RF) and Bluetooth. RF finders use a dedicated fob for tracking your devices, while Bluetooth finders work through an app on your smartphone. Range is about the same (30-100 feet, depending on the device and conditions), though you get more features with the Bluetooth tags.

Here are our favorite devices for finding all the lost things in our daily lives.

 

RF Finders

Click 'N Dig! Key FinderClick 'N Dig! Key Finder

The popular Click ‘N Dig item finder runs on radio frequencies (RF), like a cordless phone, and comes with one finder fob and six tags. Attach the tags to your easily lost items by adhesive backing or key ring. Each tag is color coded and corresponds to a colored button on the finder.

When an item goes missing, you press the colored button on the finder and the tag will flash and beep. The signal will go through walls and cushions, but you’ll need to be within at least 60 feet of your lost item.

The Click 'N Dig comes with extra batteries for the fob and tags. A transmitter with just 4 tags can also be purchased if you don't have a need for 6 receivers.

Price: $39.95 for 1 transmitter and 6 tags; $32.95 for 1 transmitter and 4 tags

2-Way RF Find One Find All FOFA2 Way RF Find One Find All (FOFA)

Instead of having a finder and multiple tags, each FOFA device acts as both a finder and a tag. They come in a flat, credit card-sized  style for your wallet and a key-fob style that can be attached with either adhesive or key ring. Up to six can be linked together. Each unit flashes red and sounds a 94bB alarm when signaled by any of the other devices.

The range on these is rather short, approximately 30 feet, and they have some issue working between floors, based on Amazon reviewer feedback. But this is balanced out by the ability to use any device to find any other one.

Price: $24.95 for 1 wallet and 1 fob; $24.95 for 2 fobs

 

Bluetooth finders for smartphones

Kensington Proximo

Attach a Kensington Promixo Bluetooth tag to your keys or bag, pair the tag with your smartphone and, when you lose track of an item, you can find them it with the Proximo app. The alerting works both ways; you use the app to find items with the tag attached and the tag can be set to automatically alert you if you get separated from your phone. This is great if you are in the bad habit of leaving your phone at public places or even in your car by accident. And if you leave an item behind, you can use the app's Last Seen function to view the item's last known location on a map. And if you don't want to get proximity alerts in specific places, like your home, you can set up Quiet Zones.

The Proximo system works with iPhone 4S and all iPhone 5 models, as well as iPad Mini and 3rd & 4th gen iPads. For Android devices, Proximo is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3 & S4, Samsung Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. In fact, if you get too far from your Samsung phone, the Proximo app will automatically lock the screen.

The Key Fob and Tag use readily available CR2032 lithium coin batteries, which lasts up to 6 months.

Price: 

TileTile

Tile is another great item finder that works with the Bluetooth functionality of your phone. Smaller and thinner than most other tags, the Tile tag doesn't utilize a transmitter unit, but is located via the app. When you get within 50-150 feet of the lost object, the app will be able to tell you the direction you need to go to find it. There is no flashing light on the Tile but it will play an audible sound.

But what if you are out of range? That's where Tile really shines. It will use every phone with the Tile app installed to search for your Tile tag. If someone else's phone finds it, you will be notified of its location and your private information is never revealed to the phone owner. It will also remember the last location it received from the Tile tag.

Tile uses Bluetooth 4.0 and only works with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 models, iPad Mini, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, and iPod Touch 5th gen. Tile is currently sold out , with new orders expected to ship this summer.

Price: $19.95 per Tile at thetileapp.com

[lost keys via Shutterstock]

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Discussion loading

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Find'em

From Carlos on January 23, 2014 :: 12:21 pm

I’m by no means related to this product but Find’Em Tracking should be on this list.
http://www.findemtracking.com/

Reply

thief catcher?

From Stef N E Lee on January 24, 2014 :: 3:04 pm

Can any devices help find a wallet or phone after they’re stolen? I know lots of phone apps now allow you to locate your phone, but would love something I could slip into my wallet if it’s ever stolen. Had a wallet stolen last year, it is one of the worst and scariest things ever. Would love a way to track down a thief and recoup my stuff, if it ever happened again.

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http://www.findemtracking.com/

From Carlos on January 24, 2014 :: 3:06 pm

Reply

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Thanks!

From grebel moritz on September 01, 2014 :: 4:28 am

Hey there! Thank you for this useful article!

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I've been using Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) to locate my lost keys.

From Kurt Paul Morgan on October 03, 2014 :: 5:45 am

I had to replace a bunch of keys this week and winced at the cost and complexity of making spare car keys. Determined that I should never loose keys again, I bought a Bluetooth Low Energy “Key Keeper”, which has been beeping on and off all afternoon - the technology isn’t as mature on Android (4.4.4 on Nexus 4) as on iPhone.

I’ll just leave the app logging where my phone was when it last saw the keys and I will hunt there using the blue tooth RSSI and a finger tip search, should the keys go missing. There are some apps like BlueScan on Android that put results of bluetooth scans on a public database. Once this technology becomes ubiquitous, that may be a good way of tracking down the current location of your lost things.

http://morganelectronics.co.uk/blog/2014/10/02/find-keys-with-bluetooth-low-energy/

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I like Tile

From Patrick Donnelly on October 19, 2014 :: 11:44 pm

The Tile App works great and has one of the largest communities out there.  So, even if something I have gets lost, I am confident that someone else might be able to find it.  http://www.Thetileapp.com

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There is one kind of Key-Finder that you didn't mention.

From Ricardo Campos Porto on November 02, 2014 :: 12:31 pm

The Clip Chain is a new kind of Key-Finder that is the best system ever. It doesn’t need any battery and use less nature resources to be produced. Consequently it is less expensive.
The Clip Chain is basic a Keychain that you fasten in your mobile case or wallet mobile case. And when you need it, just call your phone, it will ring and you find your keys or in the case that you use a wallet mobile case, you can find all the basic things you need to go out of the door. With the Clip Chain, you can find your keys with a simple call or using any GPS application that is available to use as Find My Iphone, etc… And it is more durable than other gadgets as it can be reinstalled in any new mobile case and it is made by metal. It is a very intelligent answer and very environment friendly. Check it out http://www.clip-chain.com. They are starting sales next 01.12.2014. Cheers.

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key finder for Android

From Jarod on November 06, 2014 :: 12:22 am

If you have an Android phone you can use iKeyFinder to find your lost keys. I use it and its pretty good. The only downfall is you have to remember to charge the keyfob once every few weeks or so, but other than that its pretty good! Usually my keys are in my couch cushion or under my bed, so it keeps me from missing class! I bought it for $30 from http://www.ikeyfinder.com

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