What the Tech? Tile Trackers Can Help You Find Lost Items

Amazon and Tile have teamed up to make it easier to find something you’ve lost using the new Amazon Sidewalk technology.

Tile trackers, for the uninitiated, are small dongles or gadgets that you can attach to almost anything. Keys, briefcases, bicycles, wallets, suitcases, purses, and just about everything else.

Traditional and Pro Tile Trackers are designed to fit onto keychains. There are business card-sized Tiles you can put in a wallet or purse, and Tile buttons that stick to anything.

Using Bluetooth the Tile tracker connects to your phone. If you’ve used one to find where you put the keys when you walked through the door, you may already know how that works. What you may not know is how it works if you’re nowhere near the lost Tile.

Let’s say you leave your keys behind at a coffee shop and then return home. Even though your phone is not near the tracker someone else who uses a Tile and the Tile app may walk by your keys. Their Tile app will ping your tracker and place its location on a map.

It’s anonymous and the person who just helped you find your keys won’t know their phone pinged your device.

Since there are over 24,000 Tile trackers in use right now there’s a fairly good chance that someone will walk past your keys and help locate them.

Amazon partnered with Tile when it launched Amazon Sidewalk a few weeks ago.

Here’s how Amazon Sidewalk works.

Every Echo or Alexa device (and there are millions of those in homes right now) is sharing a small amount of WiFi with anyone or anything near the home. Amazon turned on Amazon Sidewalk by default. So there’s this vast Alexa WiFi network in neighborhoods across the country. If your Tile tracker is in the vicinity (about 100′) of that Sidewalk network, all you’ll need
to do to locate it is ask Alexa.

Lots of Alexa users became suspicious of the Amazon Sidewalk network because Amazon turned it on by default so unless you’ve turned it off in the Alexa settings, your WiFi is being used as part of the Sidewalk network.

Here’s how to turn on the feature using your Tile device:

Open the Tile app and in settings search for “Home Hub” and follow the instructions to connect your Tile to Amazon Alexa
You’ll need to turn on the feature in both the Tile app and the Amazon Alexa app
After giving the Alexa app permission to connect to your Tile app Alexa will search for Tile devices to connect to
The Alexa app will then show you all of the devices connected to your account
This is where you may see all of your security cameras and other Alexa devices

You’ll also need to give Tile and Alexa access to the precise location of those devices and that it’s turned on “always”, not just when you’re using the app Now when you lose an item with a Tile tracker attached to it, just ask Alexa to find it.

Tile and Amazon both say the sharing of Bluetooth and WiFi is done anonymously and no one will be able to see your personal information.

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