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7 best uses for Tile, Orbit or any Bluetooth tracker

Got a small tracker this year? Here are ways to put these devices to use beyond finding your keys

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Trackers are the unsung heroes of the smart home space. These tiny gadgets pull more than their weight in what they can accomplish, helping people locate and find things in their home, office and inside those insanely heavy bags just with a simple click or by checking a smartphone app.

So whether you own a Tile, Orbit, TrackR, Pixie or another brand of trackers, here are seven ways to put these to use beyond the obvious.


 Find your smartphone

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The secret trick, well one that most people don't know necessarily, is that trackers can reverse locate a smartphone. Since they rely on Bluetooth connections to a smartphone app, the tracking gadgets can usually be clicked to find a phone.

First, download the app that works with your particular tracker, and link the tracker to the app. Then click it if you can't find your phone, which should — even if it's on silent mode — play a quick tune to help you locate it if it's within range.

Take a Selfie 

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Orbit trackers allow you to click a small side button on the device to activate the camera in your smartphone. You have to give permission within the Orbit app for it to access both your camera and photos. Once you do however, if the app is open, you can set up the camera on a tripod, and use the Orbit as a quick shutter remote.

Pet tracker

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While small trackers won't work as true pet gadgets — able to log how many miles they've been walked for example, or alert you if they've left a geofenced area, they can help you know if your dog or cat is not at home.

Attached to a collar, trackers are only located within a certain Bluetooth radius. Depending on how robust of a tracker that you have, these can be upwards of 300 feet. While that's great in a house, it's not great if your pet has a tendency to roam blocks away from home. But often trackers ping a location via GPS, to a map within their corresponding app — so you can pick up a recent location. Others also crowdsource, with a location pinned when another person with an app picks up the signal from that tracker.

Find a remote

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Although many people have started using their smartphones and smart speakers to control their music devices and smart TVs, others still have remotes in the house. These are infamous for going missing, and a small tracker stuck to the back of a remote can be invaluable when they go missing in-between couch cushions, or in the refrigerator. (Don't ask.)

Avoid coat check mixups

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Winter time in any city, and you'll find a cluster of black and navy blue coats inside any coatroom. While you may think you know your coat on sight, the person who hands your jacket, or what you think is your jacket, likely does not. After a drink or two, you may not be able to tell your wool trench from someone else's either.

Slip a tracker into an inside pocket, and you can make sure you have your coat before slipping it on your shoulders and heading out the door.

Luggage ID

Traveler waiting for a travel bag on the belt in airport

Tying a string on luggage may have seemed, at first, like a clever idea, but the rainbow of ribbons at airport baggage claim areas will tell you otherwise.

A tracker, tucked into an outside pocket or inside as well, is the fastest way to make sure you walk off with your bag, and not something else's. We suggest that once arriving in baggage claim, you start activating the tracker so that if someone else starts to walk off your bag, they'll hear an unfamiliar ringing that hopefully alarms them enough to turn back.

Wallet

Payment

We've all done it — left our wallets at a checkout line, or a restaurant after paying a bill. It's also not unknown for people to leave passports at airport stores — as you sometimes need to show that with your ticket to purchase items from Duty Free shops.

Some trackers, like those from Tile, are thin enough that they can be slipped into a wallet, billfold, passport holder or even a slender bag. Walking out and thinking you've forgot something? Click, walk back into a store, and claim your item back.


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