We’ve all done it and every time we do, we promise ourselves that this was the absolute last time. Sound familiar? Well, it turns out there’s a simple and affordable solution to the problem. It’s called a Bluetooth tracker.
A Bluetooth tracker is a small gadget you can attach to your things to keep an eye on them. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE or Bluetooth 4.0) to wirelessly connect to your mobile device and transmit data to that device through the connection.
Each Bluetooth tracker has a unique signature that is only known to its owner once they connect the Bluetooth gadget to their user account on the accompanying mobile app.
This way, the tracker and the app can recognise each other, ensuring the tracker cannot be tracked by outsiders and its location is only known to the owner. The only exception to this rule is when the owner decides to share their tracker with another user within the app, giving them permission to track the finder from their account as well.
Because this connection is set up with Bluetooth Low Energy, both the device and the gadget use a truly negligible amount of power.
The tracker can last anywhere upwards of 6 months and your phone can last all day without you having to worry it will run out of power. The tracker itself has a few basic components that you can find in any model Bluetooth tracker.
This is almost always a small lithium-ion battery (also known as Li-ion battery or LIB). The batteries range from the standard coin shaped ones to custom-made batteries that specifically fit the shape of their respective Bluetooth tracker.
These batteries can be rechargeable, which eliminates the additional cost of having to replace the battery, but also means shorter periods between charges as rechargeable batteries usually don’t last as long as replaceable or non-replaceable batteries do.
Most commonly, the replaceable or non-replaceable battery used is the CR2025 or CR2032 coin-shaped one. Whether the battery is replaceable or not depends on the company that made the tracker and on the features that a particular model Bluetooth tracker offers. For example, water-resistant Bluetooth trackers, like the Chipolo Plus, don’t have a replaceable battery to ensure the tracker stays water-resistant.
Each tracker has a tiny chip inside it and this is the brains of the operation. It’s the chip that makes the Bluetooth tracker ring, deals with location information and allows you to set up individual Bluetooth tracker features according to your preferences (like setting up different ringtones on the Chipolo Bluetooth finders).
Chipolo Bluetooth trackers also have a backup chip, to help reset the main chip if it’s ever needed. Despite all the tasks that the chip performs, it’s still set up to use as little power as possible and make the tracker last longer on a single battery charge.
Every Bluetooth finder has an antenna that allows it to communicate all the information from the chip with the mobile devices the finder is registered to, through a radio-based link. The antenna is fine-tuned to ensure the tracker reaches the best connection range possible with your device and uses as little power as possible doing so.
One important thing to note is that Bluetooth trackers are different from GPS trackers. GPS tracking technology provides location updates in real time, and does so through third-party connections, while Bluetooth tracking technology relies on your mobile device to update the location of the item it is attached to.
Probably the best question to ask yourself before buying a tracker is:
If the answer is to track your car then a GPS tracker, although a bit pricier, is what you’re after. If, on the other hand, you want the tracker to help you find your keys or wallet in your home then a Bluetooth tracker is the perfect solution for you.