Apple’s AirTag is the company’s first locator beacon and its function is to quickly find everyday items such as keys, wallet, backpack, and more. through the search app available on iOS devices such as iPhone.

They are not the only ones of their kind. There are manufacturers specializing in the development of this type of device, such as Tile or Chipolo, which have been in the sector for several years and have functions practically identical to the newcomer to the Cupertino catalog.

Despite the fact that it was launched a few weeks ago, it is still unclear how Apple AirTags work for some users. Rather, the problem is that they want to use it for certain situations where AirTags are not the most recommended device, but a GPS locator is much more suitable.

How is a GPS locator different from an Apple AirTag? In this article, we will try to resolve your doubts so that you can determine which type of device is most suitable for you and your needs.

How Apple AirTag Works

AirTags are associated with the user’s Apple ID so that they can be located through the search app. This service has been open since iOS 14.5 to any manufacturer interested in integrating it into their devices. Some of those who have taken the plunge are Belkin with their SoundForm Freedom, Chipolo or VanMoof headphones.

Apple locators incorporate a small battery (user replaceable battery, CR2032) to emit a bluetooth signal so that other nearby iOS devices can return their location if lost. They also incorporate a kind of speaker which alerts by beeping that it has been lost.

If a user finds an Apple AirTag, they can discover the identity of its owner just by holding their iPhone close to them; NFC technology will reveal certain information so that it can be returned to its owner.

The power of AirTags lies in the search network, and iOS devices have a share of 12.7% in Spain, quite low compared to the United States.

Its strength and weakness are the same: the research network. In countries with high iPhone adoption rates, such as the United States, the Apple AirTag is expected to perform relatively well in large and medium-sized cities, and may suffer a little more in relatively rural or rural areas. little more remote.

In Spain, Android smartphones are much more popular (87.1% in 2020 against 12.7% for iOS, according to Statista data), so the efficiency of the Search network is much lower than in the United States. Although a “smart” Android mobile phone can take advantage of NFC to reveal AirTag information, it is losing a lot of strength and possibilities in our country.

Possible uses of the Apple AirTag

AirTag with strap attached to the backpack to be able to locate it in case of loss

Given the limitations of Apple AirTags (Bluetooth connectivity and Search Network), what uses can we give them? Most likely the main thing is to put them in the keys, purse / wallet and backpack, but nothing prevents us from using them in suitcases, duffel bags, vehicles, bags as well. toys and even eyeglass cases.

Another of the most commented on uses was to tie them to pets or children to always locate them in case they got lost, but even Apple doesn’t recommend this practice (although there are accessory makers out there who do. have developed their own leashes and collars for this purpose).

One of the most criticized aspects of the Apple AirTag is that it doesn’t have a small hole so you can easily place it on a keychain or other items, but you have to buy covers designed specifically for them separately. There are official offers from Californians that are worth more than the locator itself, so it is advisable to go to other stores to find alternatives. Without going any further, Belkin already has his. In Applesfera we also have a selection that we try to keep up to date with some interesting options.

The versions of Tile, Chipolo and Samsung, in this sense, are also limited; require bluetooth connectivity to function. If we move further than 30 feet away, they will be left on their own, waiting for someone to pass by with an iPhone or compatible device to detect it and continue transmitting their location. And isn’t the check your last location feature a lifeline in many cases.

GPS locators to the rescue

GPS locator that works with the SIM card

The Apple AirTag and its company are a curious invention, but, as we have seen, they have limited scope and are not valid for any situation. Here are the GPS trackers, which offer some possibilities due to the technology they use which is not possible with the previous ones, but they also have their drawbacks.

There are several satellites and positioning systems in the world: Galileo (European), GLONASS (Russian), BEIDOU (Chinese) or Quasi-Zenith (Japanese). You should read the characteristics of the locator you are interested in to see its compatibility and whether it uses other technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to improve accuracy and better locate them.

Despite the fact that each has its own characteristics and strengths, it can be said that many share certain functions:

Live Mode: Locate the location of the locator in real time. Geofence: establish a virtual perimeter to receive a notification in case the locator goes out of the limit. Location history: Keep an eye on points the locator has passed through if you are constantly on the move.

By not relying on a device-based network, such as Apple AirTags and the like, GPS locators can work even in remote areas where people are not passing through so often, so they are useful if you are going. go out on the road. mountain or hike in the countryside. Of course, they depend on the coverage provided by the satellite to which they connect.

GPS locators require their battery to be recharged more often, in addition to contracting data rates for the SIM card and contracting possible additional services.

GPS locators are best suited for use with children and pets, although it is important to choose a relatively small and unobtrusive model with as long as possible battery life. In fact, one of the downsides compared to AirTags is that their battery drains much faster.

Another point to keep in mind is that most GPS locators require SIM cards to function, which involves the hiring of a data rate. This amounts to making an economic bet of a few euros per month, but simple and inexpensive rates of a few hundred MB should be more than enough because it does not consume a lot of data.

Curve Mini GPS Locator

Track anything with the Curve Mini GPS locator (39 euros) in real time via the app for mobile devices: objects, animals or people. Define zones to customize alerts and receive notifications when the target leaves them.

It works with a Vodafone Smart SIM (included) which can provide service in over 90 countries, but can also be used with any mobile operator in Spain. It is necessary to activate a monthly subscription to connect the device to the Vodafone global network.

Curve, smart and lightweight mini GPS locator, tracker with real-time tracking for locating people, animals or vehicles

Pull Dog GPS Locator

Keep your pet located at all times and prevent them from getting lost with the Tractive Collar GPS Locator ($ 49.99). Check where you are in real time and see where you’ve been with location history.

Install a virtual fence to establish a safe zone and receive automatic notification if the animal enters or leaves the marked perimeter. The collar can be used in over 150 countries and all functions can be managed in the Tractive GPS app for iOS, Android devices and web browsers.

The SIM card is already integrated, but it is necessary to take out a subscription. Different terms are available, ranging from monthly to one for five years, to one or two years, depending on the user’s intention.

Tractive Collar GPS Dogs (2021), Know Your Dog’s Location, Tracking And Activity Tracking 24 Hours

GPS locator for vehicles Salind 11

Know the exact location of your vehicle and prevent theft with the Salind 11 GPS locator (29.99 euros). It has a strong magnet that allows you to attach the device to cars, caravans, boats, trucks, containers and many other places.

It can be configured with different alarms in case of low battery, vibration or excessive speed limitation. A notification can also be set in the event that the tracking leaves a radius predetermined by the user.

One of its strong points is its large battery with an autonomy of about a month (although the manufacturer specifies 90 days, it is very difficult to reach this figure). You have to subscribe to the service, with prices starting from 5.07 euros per month.

Salind 11- GPS locator for car, motorcycle, trucks and much more- Built-in magnet for fixed and safe placement- Battery life up to 90 days- GPS tracker with real-time tracking

Invoxia GPS tracker

Invoxia’s proposal (98.99 euros) allows you to locate valuables with no distance limit in Spain and Portugal from the Invoxia GPS application, available for mobile devices. The GPS locator transmits its position every five minutes since it is in motion (depending on the configuration). If the tracker does not move, you will receive a notification every four hours.

It is possible to define alert zones to receive a notification from the moment the locator enters or leaves the determined zone. If it is to be placed in a vehicle, personalized alarms can be activated when it is set in motion if it was parked.

It works without a SIM card. The locator uses low power networks. It includes a three-year subscription and the battery lasts from 1 to 6 months, and can be recharged via Micro USB in less than an hour and a half. It weighs only 30 grams and is very discreet (10 cm long and 3 cm wide).

Invoxia GPS Tracker without SIM card – Locate: car, motorcycle, bags, children, elderly – 1 to 6 months of autonomy

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