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Tile trackers vs. the new AirTags – What’s the difference?

You might be wondering, what in the world are trackers? They have been around for years, and like every revolutionary product, Tile’s competitors finally caught up.

If you’ve ever lost your car keys or smartphone, you’re perfect for trackers. They were invented to solve this pesky problem by helping you track your stuff anytime it went missing. This includes your phone, car keys, wallet, etc. Hey, maybe even your kids? Slip a tracker in their pocket!

Apple is now a direct competitor to Tile’s trackers with its own AirTags. Tile isn’t happy about it, but the new AirTags are already making waves. So what are Tile trackers and AirTags, and what’s the difference? 

Tile Trackers

Invented several years ago, Tile trackers don’t actually use GPS to track your stuff as most people think. In fact, they work using Bluetooth technology and bounce that signal off of each other to help you locate your stuff.

RELATED: These GPS devices could be tracking your children right now

Tile trackers currently have over 35 million trackers sold in over 165 countries and are growing every day. Plus, the company has partnered with several brands to install its trackers into their products directly.


  • Tile trackers are the most affordable of the two, starting at just $19.99.
  • Tile’s $29.99 slim model is built in the shape of a credit card and allows you to slide it into your purse or wallet easily. It doesn’t require a keychain or accessory to hold it.
  • The batteries in some models last for up to three years.
  • Tile trackers work with Android as well as iPhone, so Samsung loyalists can still play. AirTags work with iPhones only.
  • Tile trackers can be purchased already installed in laptops, headphones and a list of other easy-to-lose products.
  • One model has an adhesive backing for easy application.


  • You have to download a separate app, and by all accounts, it’s not as seamless as Apple’s integration.
  • Tile trackers don’t work with GPS technology, so it doesn’t have the sheer power that AirTags do.
  • No privacy controls.

Apple AirTags

There isn’t much Apple isn’t trying to put its hands on, and now it’s officially in the lost and found business. AirTags use Bluetooth technology just like Tile trackers, but with a bonus. They can also access the cellular power of every iPhone out there.

One great selling point for Apple. AirTags automatically integrate with your existing Apple devices, just like buying a new Apple Watch.


  • AirTags come with a replaceable battery, which is a big step for Apple.
  • Set up only takes about a minute and doesn’t require additional downloads. It automatically connects with your existing Apple ID.
  • AirTags have privacy controls to prevent hackers from breaking into your tracker. It will automatically let you know if someone else’s AirTag is locked onto your signal, meaning it’s less likely that people can track an actual person with AirTag.
  • Those who own an iPhone 11 or higher can locate their AirTags precisely using Apple’s ultra-wideband signal. Your iPhone will point you in the right direction of your lost item with step-by-step directions.


  • Currently, only one option for Apple’s AirTag is available. It doesn’t come with a keyring hole or any adhesive backing. As is custom with Apple Products, you’ll need to purchase a $35 keyring for it from the Apple Store or a cheaper accessory, like this one for under $15.
  • AirTags cost $29, which is pricier than Tile’s base model at $19.99.

So what’s the difference?

Both products seem pretty identical and they are on several levels, but each product offers a little something different than the other. Bottom line, if you are an Apple user, AirTags should be your go-to choice because it easily integrates with the rest of your devices.

However, if you don’t have an iPhone, Tile is likely the better option. They come with more choices and are more convenient overall. Intrigued as to what other fancy tech is out there now that you’ve seen the new AirTags? Here are 20 things on Amazon you might be interested in.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

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