Tile trackers are getting an AirTags-like location alert feature

Tile tracker on keys
Tile tracker on keys (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Tile is updating its Smart Alerts feature.
  • Tile trackers will alert users when they are left behind.
  • Apple is expected to have a similar feature in the works for AirTags.

If you ever wanted to see competition at its best, look no further than Tile scrambling to announce features to compete with a product that hasn't been confirmed yet. Apple is expected to announce its own trackers, AirTags, imminently and now Tile has announced a feature that goes head-to-head with them.

AirTags are thought to be able to alert users when they have been left behind, no matter where that might be. Tile's trackers offer something similar, but only for designated geofences. Whereas AirTags will be able to notify users if they leave a wallet behind regardless of location, Tile can only do that if it's an area that's been pre-configured. But not for long.

Tile has confirmed (via Engadget) that it is expanding its previous Smart Alerts feture to allow it to work anywhere, without the need for geofences.

Tile's trackers already help you find lost items, but now they might help you before the wave of panic hits. The company is relaunching Smart Alerts in beta to automatically warn when you've left a tracked item behind if it's been there for at least five minutes. If you rush out of the coffee shop without your bag, you'll ideally get an alert before you've reached your car. You'll need a Premium subscription ($30 per year or $3 per month), but it might be a small price to pay if you can't bear the thought of leaving a valuable item alone for more than a few minutes. The beta will be available in December.

Yes, you'll need to wait until December and yes, you'll need to use beta software in order for it to work. But it's coming, and that's a big deal.

Whether Apple's AirTags will require a similar subscription fee in order to function isn't yet clear, but $3 per month is nothing compared to the hassle a lost wallet or purse can cause.

Over to you, Apple.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.