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How to Find Your Wallet, Keys and Smartphone

by on July 13, 2015
in Time Savers, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Health and Home, Tips & How-Tos :: 38 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; $22.95 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

TrackR Bravo

Attach a Trackr Bravo 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 TrackR 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 with a 85dB alarm 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 don't want to get separation alerts in specific places, like your home, you can set up Safe Zones. 

If you do leave an item behind, you can view the item's last known location on a map or use the app's crowd-sourced device finding feature. The crowd-sourced locator only works if a person who uses the TrackR app is near your device and has their Bluetooth turned on. So you might get lucky in a densely populated area like New York City. 

The TrackR Bravo measures 3.5mm thick and 31mm in diameter—small enough to stick in your wallet. Battery life is rated at approximately one year and is user replaceable. The TrackR Bravo works with iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 6 and 6 Plus and Android devices running Android 4.4 and later that support Bluetooth Low Energy. Available in silver, blue, rose gold and blue.

Price: $29.99 for 1 tag, $58.99 for 3 tags, $87.99 for 5 tags or $116.99 for 8 tags on thetrackr.com

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 certain phones and tablets. Check out the full list on the manufacturer's site.

Price: $25.00 for 1 Tile and $70.00 for 4 Tiles

Updated on 7/13/2015 with new tracker option and updated pricing.

[Lost keys via Shutterstock, all others via Click n Dig, FOFA, TrackR, Tile]



Discussion loading

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Find'em

From Carlos on January 23, 2014 :: 1:21 pm

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

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thief catcher?

From Stef N E Lee on January 24, 2014 :: 4:04 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 :: 4:06 pm

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Thanks!

From grebel moritz on September 01, 2014 :: 5:28 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 :: 6:45 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 20, 2014 :: 12:44 am

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 :: 1:31 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 :: 1:22 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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Key alarm and wallet alarm

From Phillip Wren on February 11, 2015 :: 6:35 pm

I found a company that has a silent wallet alarm that pairs with your cell and alerts you if you lose your wallet. (your cell will ring - not the wallet - so it doesn’t draw attention to your wallet) They also have a key-fob alarm that also pairs with your cell & that rings your cell and the key tag at the same time if you lose them. Both of these have a button that when pressed will make your cell ring - in case you can’t find your cell! It’s a win-win for me grin
http://www.idcardguard-us.com

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Noam in israel

From Phillip on April 02, 2015 :: 3:31 pm

Noam, thanks for your comment and interest. You didn’t send any contact info. Please let us know where to email you?

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track r bravo

From t on June 11, 2015 :: 7:50 pm

track r bravo

I have three units that do not work!

For over one week I have sent emails to track r bravo asking for help.

I still do not have any help or reply to my emails. The only reply came saying my units would ship shortly(THEY WERE ALREADY DELIVERED WHEN I GOT THE EMAIL)

I do not know what to do about this.

I am going to file a complaint with the BBB and the state consumer affairs office.

This is a terrible way to run a business.

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Unfortunately, you are joining the

From Phillip on June 11, 2015 :: 7:57 pm

Unfortunately, you are joining the very long line of dissatisfied customers. Try http://www.voyager-blue.com, great bluetooth products that work & they ship.

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thank you

From t on June 11, 2015 :: 8:08 pm

thank you

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Problems here too

From Joe on August 05, 2015 :: 10:07 pm

My problems seemed to be software problems on my Samsung Note 4. I had a similar experience with TrackR support.  But, after 6 months of this, I did get my money back from them after I shipped the TrackR back.

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DON'T BUY TRACKR BRAVO

From alon zaidx on December 11, 2015 :: 5:41 am

Dear people, don’t buy TrackR, don’t order it, never give money to them. I paid $320 for 30 pieces of Trackr Bravo in August 2014, now, 16 months later (!), I have nothing, not even a proper answer to my numerous emails to them.

I will write this on every internet wall I can, because this is a criminal act that should be prosecuted and the victims should get compensation. Is there a lawyer that can take over his case?

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We can help you

From Phillip Wren on December 11, 2015 :: 8:30 am

Unfortunately, you are joining the very long line of dissatisfied customers. Try http://www.voyager-blue.com, great bluetooth products that work & they ship

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Tracker R Bravo

From Glenn L on April 03, 2016 :: 8:28 pm

I share your comments about the Bravo R Tracker. It took months and multiple emails to get my order. The devices burn through batteries in months. In fairness, the company sent me a set of replacement batteries.  Overall, I would NOT recommend this device and very disappointed in it and the numerous positive reviews that are clearly in accurate.

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Never lose your keys

From Frank Verano on July 13, 2015 :: 3:47 pm

I can understand this device for bigger things like cell phones but never for keys.  I am 97 and I never lose my keys.  I made it a habit that my keys must always be in my hands or the car ignition, or in my back pocket or on the dresser in my bedroom. ever any place else. It takes about 3 weeks to create such a habit where you use your brain to force you to follow the habit. If you have your keys in hand and you are about (or tempted) to (temporarily) put them down on the kitchen table, your brain will bring it to your attention that it is a violation of your habit.

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Great advice

From Meg on September 13, 2015 :: 10:19 am

Very cool that you’re 97 and never lose your keys! I tend to misplace things when I’m traveling because I’m out of my normal environs. You’re exactly right about it taking about 3 weeks to create a habit. Decades ago, I read that statistic (21 days), and the knowledge empowered me with the insight and patience to develop some habits.

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Keys

From Frank Verano on December 12, 2015 :: 3:15 pm

I might add, facetiously:  One of the places for my keys is in my back pocket when I am not in the car.  They are there almost of the time I am not driving whether I am at the computer or practicing on the classical guitar or watching TV or eating or wherever I am not driving or sleeping.  As a matter of fact after sitting for a very long time, there is such a deep car key imprint on my rear that I can now unlock my car door with my rear end.

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hey basically all these manufacturers

From Alexandra Milo on July 16, 2015 :: 12:17 pm

hey basically all these manufacturers provide native apps, but it always has limitations, for example you can’t offer your key finder once activated, or you can’t use more than 10 at once etc. We developed Find My Stuff app for iOS that support all kind of beacons and Bluetooth trackers. check it out https://www.fstuff.com

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Car lost keys solution

From perrik14 on July 31, 2015 :: 2:37 pm

If you lost or even broke the keys to your car watch this video for a good and fast solution
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsMEALyRm-w

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don't buy TRACKR BRAVO!

From alon zaidx on December 11, 2015 :: 5:42 am

Dear people, don’t buy TrackR, don’t order it, never give money to them. I paid $320 for 30 pieces of Trackr Bravo in August 2014, now, 16 months later (!), I have nothing, not even a proper answer to my numerous emails to them.

I will write this on every internet wall I can, because this is a criminal act that should be prosecuted and the victims should get compensation. Is there a lawyer that can take over his case?

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Better than TrackR and available NOW

From Phillip Wren on March 21, 2016 :: 8:14 am

Alon,

We can supply you with Bluetooth anti-loss key tags and wallet tags. Let us know if you’d like to get you a supply of 30 units?

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There is better way to track all your basics :-)

From Ricardo Campos Porto on December 11, 2015 :: 2:07 pm

Hi, take in consideration the Clip-Chain Basics Finder System, it is practically a new set-up of your basics that allows you to use your mobile phone as Tracker & Basics-Finder. http://www.ecoolab.com, and if you have time, have a look in the ” support ecoolab section” - “Projects for sale” , you can make a good money there grin

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Another great option

From Andrew Scheer on February 23, 2016 :: 6:38 am

Hey,

We have 2 property finding solutions which you may want to consider: loc8tor lite (http://www.loc8tor.com) and tabcat which is designed for cats.

Its RF technology and has a range up to 400 feet! the battery lasts up to a year with normal use.

Well worth checking out

A

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scam

From Kate Saunders on March 01, 2016 :: 10:11 pm

dont open this page as its an attack page and will steal your personal info!! scammers!!!

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What page are you referring to?

From Josh Kirschner on March 02, 2016 :: 9:28 am

What page are you referring to?

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What if I don't have a Smartphone?

From Thomas W. Eaton on March 15, 2016 :: 4:44 pm

I have spent the last two days looking at tracking devices. I have read about all of the devices in this article at least three times and I find that they all have the same problems, which just about every other tracking device has as well. They don’t come with a master controller so you have to use a smartphone, tablet or computer with them. But even if the device will warn you if your about to walk away from it you can’t hear the warning if your smart phone is turned off, out of range, lost, or stolen.

Oh! You say; but you can track it on the app on your smartphone, that has just been stolen. Well then press the button on your keychain and it will set off an alarm on the phone. Again the phone is gone, you can’t hear it, but the thief can, or for that matter anyone else who comes along and sees a shiny new smartphone sitting on the counter in the laundromat. Let’s face it, by now your phone is gone and there ain’t much chance that your going to get it back!

Okay! If you must, design it with a fancy smart-app that I can use to track down my phone if I want. But what I really need is a device that I can carry in my pocket that can be linked to another similar device on any item that I don’t want to lose; Keys, Wallet, and yes a phone, smart or not. When I get too far from a linked device the one in my pocket starts beeping loud enough so I can’t help but realize that I left my wallet on the counter in the convenience store before I walk out the door. Why on earth do I have to have a smartphone to remember my wallet?!

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Smartphone or not?

From Phillip G. Wren on March 15, 2016 :: 4:53 pm

Hi Thomas,
Yes, they all need a smartphone, but take a look at the VoyagerBlue SmartTag. It will ring both the alarm tag and your phone the moment they are separated, so if your phone is on silent, your tag will still alert you, and you can set the sensitivity to a low as 10 feet away, or a maximum of 50 feet.

Go to http://www.voyager-blue.com, they ship globally.

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IF you have any old mobile phone you can go with Clip-Chain

From Ricardo Campos Porto on March 25, 2016 :: 2:56 pm

http://www.ecoolab.com - Key-chain for mobile cases. Find all your basics with a simple call.

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The Clip-Chain.

From Ricardo Campos Porto on April 02, 2016 :: 1:54 am

Thomas, you are asking something very different of what is in the market today, so be prepared to something new ok? The Clip-Chain Basics Finder System was developed by Ecoolab, it is basically a Key-Chain that you can fasten in a wallet mobile case. The key chain is detachable and it comes with a carabiner for jogging without your phone. This system allows you to use your mobile phone (Smart or not) to find your keys and wallet. It is the most simple but the most efficient way as well, with your basics connected to your phone you just need to call your phone to find your phone, or use GPS applications (Smart Phones only). No need to learn any software, no bluetooth connection, just a simple call. This system is practically FREE, because key-chain you need anyway. The Clip-Chain System doesn’t use any environment resource to give you a key-finder, and it makes the Clip-Chain the only key or basics-finder that is 100% ecological. Another thing, it is REUSABLE!!, If you upgrade your mobile phone you, just need to buy a new mobile case for your new phone, deinstall from the old case, and reinstall your Clip-Chain on the new cover. The Heart Connector has a bearing system that makes it rotatable what makes it very handy to be used. And the best is that ECOOLAB teach you to make a Clip-Chain that is very simple to be made by yourself on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-gqniecCNQ . So you can simply test the system bafore buy it. Believe me, it is very simple and different, but is definitely the most perfect way. If you have any question, just ask me ok?

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You have posted some really

From daniel on March 21, 2016 :: 6:27 am

You have posted some really piratical ideas for preventing the loss of keys, I’m sure there are many more as well. Thanks for sharing.

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Thomas, you are dead on.

From Jose on March 25, 2016 :: 1:07 pm

Thomas, you are dead on. 
That’s exactly what I have been saying.  I have lost too many items (especially while traveling) where I have left my sun glasses, camera, or other personal items behind.  While I appreciate solutions that helps you find the item, but by the time I realize its lost it is too late.  Its gone, stolen, or hidden. 

I am looking for a tag system the is proximity based where I can configure it to set off an alarm if tag and sensor are more than x feet apart.  Something like what the retail stores have.

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Voyager-Blue.com

From Jose on March 25, 2016 :: 1:44 pm

This is the closest thing I have found to what I am looking for.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYtilL2MrJo

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Message to Jose

From Phillip Wren on March 25, 2016 :: 2:17 pm

Jose,

Thank you for alerting Thomas and others to theVoyagerBlue proximity alert tags. Have you purchased one of them? If so, we’d love your feedback. You can reach me via the contact page on http://www.voyager-blue.com

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Yes Thanks Jose.

From Thomas on April 01, 2016 :: 5:34 pm

I do appreciate any efforts to find a solution to my dilemma. Unfortunately I’ve already looked at Voyager and it still has the same problem as all the others; it has to be linked to a smart phone! In tech speak that’s what we call a single point of failure. What if you disable the alarm while your at home and you just happen to forget your phone. By the time you get home and find your phone the wallet is gone, forget about it! On the other hand if you have a device on your keychain and one in your wallet and they are linked the one on your keychain can warn you when you forget your wallet and vice versa! Okay, so if you have a smartphone maybe you don’t have to attach a tracker to it, but what do if you don’t have a smartphone?

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No You don't need a Smart Phone to have the best!

From Ricardo Campos Porto on April 04, 2016 :: 4:11 am

The clip-chain basics finder system is the best Key-finder ever invented and it is the simplest as well. You can use with any telephone, just call your phone, it rings and you find your keys that are going to be attached to your phone. The Clip-Chain is just a special key-chain that you can fast to your mobile-phone, but it is perfect, because your telephone is better than any key-finder in the world.

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