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How to Find Your Wallet, Keys and Smartphone

by on August 08, 2017
in Time Savers, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Health and Home, Tips & How-Tos :: 21 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. The 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 Finder

Click '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 four 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 with a volume of 90-105dB. 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 four tags can also be purchased if you don't need 6 receivers.

Price: $22.95 for 1 tracker, 2 key fobs and 2 tags

LOC8TOR Lite

LOC8TOR Lite

In addition to your keys beeping and flashing when you press the find button on your tracker, the LOC8TOR Lite will guide you to them with a built-in proximity meter. The LOC8TOR Lite can track up to four devices and comes with two key fobs and two tags (1.4" x 0.77" x 0.33", 0.17 ounces)  that can be stuck to your TV remote, laptop or whatever you want to track. 

The range on these is up to 400 feet, if you have a clear line of sight, according to the company. Reviewers on Amazon cite distances more in the 100- to 150-foot range and give it an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars. A number of them have successfully used the fob on cat collars. The batteries last up to 7 months and are user replaceable. 

Price: $74.95 for 1 tracker, 2 tags and 2 fobs

 

Bluetooth finder for smartphones

Tile Mate and Tile Pro

Tile (Gen 2)

Tile Mate, Tile Slim and Tile Pro are great item finders that work with the Bluetooth functionality of your phone. Smaller and thinner than most other tags, these Tile tags don't utilize a transmitter unit but are located via the app. When you get within 100 feet of the Tile Mate and Tile Slim or 200 feet of the Tile Pro, you can ring the Tile-tagged device. There is no flashing light on the Tile but it will play an audible sound. And, if you double press the "e" on the Tile, your phone will ring with the Tile tune—even if you've turned your phone's ringer off. 

But what if you are out of range? That's where Tile Mate and Tile Pro really shine. They 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 works in the background). It will also remember the last location it received from the Tile tag.

The Tile Pro has a louder ring than the Tile Mate, 98dB versus 88dB, and the Tile Pro is waterproof, able to be submerged in 1.5 meters for up to an hour.

The Tile Slim is just two credit cards thick and fits easily into your wallet.  

Price: $25 for 1 Tile Mate, $27 for 1 Tile Slim, $35 for 1 Tile Pro

Find your phone ring when the ringer is off

If you just need to find your phone and the ringer is off, you can log into your Apple or Google account from any web browser (mobile or desktop) to make your phone ring.

For iPhones, go to icloud.com and enter your Apple ID and password. Once you're logged in, select Find iPhone, choose your phone from the devices associated with your Apple ID and click on Play Sound. 

For Android phones, go to www.google.com/android/devicemanager and log into the Google account associated with your phone. Once you're logged in, select your phone from the devices associated with your Google account and click on Ring.

Updated on 8/8/2017 with new tracker options and updated pricing.

[Lost keys via Shutterstock, all others via Click n Dig, LOC8TOR, 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.

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Caution - findemtracking website is flagged as a risk

From Dave on October 07, 2016 :: 8:06 am

Caution - findemtracking website mentioned by Carlos is flagged as a security risk

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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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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.

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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. 

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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Newest Bluetooth

From Michael London on September 26, 2016 :: 11:34 pm

In all fairness not all Bluetooth tracking devices are equal. Most units when exposed to sand or water will have a life expectancy of minutes if not seconds. So what are the advantages of taking a $25 electronic device to the beach of vacation if there is risk?
Some units are purposely designed with a one year life expectancy and require repurchasing a new unit after only 12 months. How does an electronic device protect you if it comes out of the box with built in obsolescence.

The newest entry, Your Retriever over came these technical down falls and just keeps working.

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I give up!

From Thomas on December 02, 2016 :: 3:53 pm

I guess I won’t be buying a smart phone any time soon. You just don’t get it until it happens to you. Your in a hurry, Distracted, mind somewhere else. It only takes a second for a thief to scoop up a phone and it’s gone! Then there’s the time it falls out of your pocket and you don’t realize it. Okay so pairing a smart phone and a proximity sensor could warn you but by then the phone or keys are gone, gone. What if the app fails? No warning! If each device links to every other device then they start beeping as soon as there too far apart! You don’t even have to have a smart phone to keep track of your valuables. just attach a tracking device to each valuable and boom, your set to go. If you have to pair the devices in a mesh you could use the internet, from any computer - or smartphone if you must! A well, maybe someone will snap some day!

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Lol.

From facebook1277799268962636 on April 11, 2017 :: 3:15 pm

Lol.

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Finderator

From Bodkan101 on August 29, 2017 :: 4:07 am

I’m using the Finderator app on Android, it’s not a tracker or other fancy stuff but using Bayesian search theory to optimize the “classic” search by walking and looking

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Lost keys

From tmradius on August 29, 2017 :: 10:25 am

I last wrote about lost keys back in 2015 when I was 97.  I’ll be 100 in January. Since 2015, I developed the ‘big nose’ theory to help me keep track of where my keys are (I still drive,by the way.) Because I am so old, I have a caregiver who knows everything.  If I lose my keys I ask her to find them. She always ells me that they are right there under your “big nose.”  And sure enough that’s where they are. Hence, the “big nose” theory. There is a secondary problem, however. My nose is now way too big and ....

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