Bluetooth Trackers: How It Works

Expected read time: 5 min

How many times a week do you look for your lost keys, wallet or phone?

We’ve all done it and every time we do, we promise ourselves that this was the absolute last time. Sound familiar?

There’s a simple and affordable solution to the problem. It’s called a Bluetooth tracker.

What is 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 regularly transmit small amounts of data to that device through the connection.

Find my keys Chipolo tracking tag phone app Find my keys Chipolo tracking tag phone app

How does a Bluetooth finder work?

Each Bluetooth finder tag has a unique signature that is only known to its owner after they connect the Bluetooth gadget to their phone through an accompanying mobile app.

The item finder and the app can then recognize each other, ensuring the tracker cannot be tracked by other people and its location is only known to the owner. The only exception to this rule is when the owner decides to share their key or wallet tracker with another user through 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 between 1-2 years, depending on the model and the battery, and your phone can last all day without you having to worry it will run out of power. Both the key and wallet tracker have a few basic components that you can find in any model Bluetooth tracking tag.

Every Bluetooth tracking tag has an internal power source (a battery), a chip and an antenna

Power Source

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 key tracker. These batteries can be rechargeable, which eliminates the additional cost of having to replace the battery, but this 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 a coin-shaped battery. Whether the battery is replaceable or not depends on the company that made the smart finder tag and on the features that a particular model Bluetooth tracking tag offers. For example, water-resistant Bluetooth finders, like the Chipolo ONE, have a replaceable battery, but their insides are protected by a casing to ensure the tracker stays water-resistant.

Coin battery Coin battery


Each tracker has a tiny chip inside it, which is the brain of the operation. It’s the chip that makes the Bluetooth finder tag 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 key and wallet 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 item tracker reaches the best connection range possible with your device and uses as little power as possible doing so.

Is a Bluetooth tracker tag for me?

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.

If you usually misplace your keys, wallet, or phone around the house, in your car, or at the office, a Bluetooth finder is what you need.

If you lose your things when outside or if you want to track your car or bike, a GPS tracker is better suited for you.

What will I be using the finder tag for?

If the answer is to track your car or to help you find things you lost, then a GPS tracker, although a bit pricier, is what you’re after.

If you usually misplace your keys, wallet, or phone around the house, in your car, or at the office, a Bluetooth finder is the perfect solution for you.

Check out our best-selling key & wallet trackers!

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