learn to track

Not Sure Which is the Best Bluetooth Tracker: Apple Airtag vs. Tile? I Have The Answer

Tile vs Airtag - Which is better?

Welcome to the ultimate Tile vs AirTag showdown. Forget specs; I put these trackers through real-life boot camp.

Frozen, tossed, and their battery drained – they were field-tested in every way. I even took them on a skyscraper safari in NYC to check how they would perform around skyscrapers.

Plus, they were my roommates—for an entire season.

Ready for the ultimate face-off?

Ruggedness Tests

Let’s cut to the chase: how indestructible are these trackers? We’re not talking about devices you casually toss in a bag. You rely on them to safeguard your most prized possessions.

I put them through a lot of hard tests. I threw them up high, froze them, let my dog play with them, ran with them on a treadmill, and spun them in a washing machine.

Get ready; the findings are eye-opening.

Temperature Test

Have you ever wondered how these trackers handle extreme cold or scorching heat? I froze and baked them to find out, and you won’t believe what happened.

After spending a night in the freezer, the AirTag had clear signs of water around the battery. Tile emerged almost unscathed with almost no frost. The kicker? Both devices powered right back up and functioned as if nothing had happened.

I also left both trackers in my car during a shopping trip—bad idea. The heat turned both devices into paperweights—they stopped working.

AirTag works in temperatures from -4 ° F to 140° F, while Tile works from -14 ° F to 140 ° F.

But, both failed in the extreme heat inside a car, which can get very high under a direct summer sun.

The takeaway? Both trackers have their temperature limits, despite what the specs say. So, always “look before you lock,” especially in extreme temperatures.

Water Resistance

Have you ever dropped your tracker in the sink or left it in your rain-soaked jacket? We put these devices to the ultimate water test to see how they hold up. We did the wet work, so you don’t have to.

First up is the deep dive. We put both trackers underwater, five feet deep, for 30 minutes. Spoiler alert: neither tracker made it out functioning. So much for that swim.

Then, we tested the trackers in heavy rain in New York for a whole night. Luckily, both trackers worked fine afterward, staying waterproof as promised.

In simpler terms, AirTags have an IP67 rating. This means they can deal with spills & splashes and stay under 3.3 feet for up to half an hour.

Tile’s new lineup offers similar water resistance, good for a 3-foot plunge for up to 30 minutes. But remember, these ratings are not an invitation for underwater adventures.

The bottom line? Both trackers can handle a splash or a rainy night, but submersion is a no-go. Always look at the water-resistance ratings before you try anything risky.


The day I put the tracker on my dog’s collar, I couldn’t help thinking, “How far can he go before the tracker can’t track?”

It was the perfect setup to push Tile and AirTag to their limits and see which one offers the longer leash.

I’ve learned a lot about how far they can go after testing Apple’s AirTag and Tile’s trackers on my dog’s collar. Here’s the scoop.

Apple AirTag

At first, I had doubts about AirTag’s range because Apple keeps that detail under wraps. But, boy, was I in for a treat! The AirTag starts out with a Bluetooth range of about 33 feet – a little more or less. But here’s the real deal: Apple’s Find My Network changes the game.

When my dog wandered into the next yard, I could still track him. This was because nearby Apple devices detected his AirTag. It was like the whole neighborhood was helping me watch over my Dalmatian.

Tile Trackers

Tile doesn’t beat around the bush; it tells you what it can do. I tried out the Tile Mate, which has a range of 243 feet, and the Tile Pro, which can reach up to 397 feet.

Tile Pro wowed me. It let me track my dog, even when he got distracted and chased a squirrel a few doors away. While Tile’s network does a good job, it’s not as widespread as Apple’s Find My network.

The Winner: It’s Complicated

If I have to choose for range, my bet’s on Tile Pro. Its 397-foot range kept me calm when my dog took off on his park escapades.

But, AirTag’s Find My network comes into its own in bustling areas packed with iPhones, where Apple’s network is at its best.

Battery Life – The Endurance Game

Battery life is the unsung hero of any gadget. Let’s face it: Nobody wants to constantly swap out batteries. So, how do Apple’s AirTag and Tile trackers stack up in the battery endurance marathon? Let’s dive in.

Apple AirTag: Replace, Don’t Recharge

AirTag keeps it simple: no charging, replace the CR2032 battery when it calls it quits. Apple says it should last over a year with everyday use, but let’s be real – usage varies.

My test? I didn’t have to swap out batteries even after a month of continuous use.

But there’s a twist. Checking the battery life isn’t straightforward anymore.

In a recent iPhone update, Apple removed the battery icon. So now you have to wait for a low battery alert to know when to charge. Annoying? Maybe a little. But hey, at least changing the battery is a breeze.

Tile Trackers: Sealed or Swappable

Tile plays a different game. Models like the Tile Mate, Slim, and Sticker have a 3-year sealed battery. No fuss, no muss. But if you’re into DIY, the Tile Pro’s got you covered with its easy-to-swap CR2032 battery – just like the AirTag.

My Real-World Test Results

I tested both trackers in “continuous mode” for a whole month. Guess what? Both the AirTag and Tile trackers hung on without a hiccup. Impressive stamina!

But what about when they’re just chilling? I left them on standby for three months. The result? Both were still kicking, ready to get back into action.

AirTag and Tile both have good battery life for normal use. However, if you use them often, expect to change the batteries more often. AirTag lets you change its battery, and Tile gives you choices between sealed or changeable batteries. But remember, if you track things a lot, the batteries might not last as long as advertised.

User Experience and App Features

AirTag and Tile each have their own app. With AirTag, you use Find My to see it on a map and hear beeps. Tile does this, too. But you must pay more for extra stuff like alerts when you forget something or to check location history. Let’s see how these apps make using AirTag and Tile different.

App Interfaces

Tile and AirTag use different apps, each fitting their own style. Tile has its own app, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play. This means you can use Tile with both iPhones and Android phones. It’s great for people who have different types of phones.

AirTag works with the Find My app, which is already on iPhones. This app tracks friends and Apple devices, and AirTag is another thing. If you have an iPhone, you can ask Siri to find your AirTag, and it will beep if it’s nearby. But you can’t use AirTag with Android phones.

In conclusion, Tile is good for any phone, but AirTag works only on iPhones.

Ease of Setting Up & Pairing

I found some big differences in my experience with setting up an AirTag and a Tile tracker.

Setting up the AirTag was easy and fast, taking about 30 seconds. As someone who uses an iPhone, I liked how it connected to my phone using my Apple ID. I didn’t need to make any new accounts, which saved me time.

But, setting up Tile took more steps. I downloaded the Tile app, made an account, and allowed it to use my phone’s Bluetooth and GPS. Activating the Tile by clicking its button and connecting it to my phone was easy. But it took a bit longer than the AirTag.

I must say, I was impressed with how smooth and quick setting up the AirTag was. But Tile is also great because it works with Android and iPhone phones, making it more flexible.


Playing with AirTag and Tile’s customization showed that each had uniqueness.

With AirTag, I just named it and picked an emoji in the Find My app. Apple also lets you engrave AirTags with emojis, your name, or numbers for free.

With Tile, I could change the ringtone. This is a fun choice. The Tile app also has ‘Smart alerts’ to tell me if I forgot my item and let me share my Tile with family and friends.

With the Tile app, I could do more cool stuff. I could make my Tile beep if it were close. I could also look at a map in the app to see my Tile’s location history. Plus, if I turned on ‘Notify When Found’, other people with the Tile app can help me find my Tile tracker.

Tile also has something special that AirTag doesn’t – partnerships with brands like HP, FitBit, and Skullcandy. Their products have Tile tracking inside. So, you don’t need an extra Tile tracker – the Tile app is all you need.


When it comes to price, Tile and AirTag play in different ballparks. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

On Amazon, Tile’s lineup includes the Mate, Slim, Pro, and Sticker. Each has its own price tag. The Tile Mate, a jack-of-all-trades, costs around $25. The sleek Tile Slim, perfect for slipping into wallets, goes for about $35. The Tile Pro packs a punch at roughly $35 for those needing extra oomph. And the tiny Tile Sticker, great for keeping tabs on remotes or outdoor gear, is tagged at about $30.

Switching gears to Apple’s AirTag, it’s a different story. Over at Apple’s online store, an AirTag costs about $29. But here’s the kicker: you can snag a four-pack for around $99. That’s a big deal if you’re looking to track multiple items. AirTag’s integration with the Apple ecosystem might be a game-changer for iPhone users. But remember, it’s Apple-only territory.

In my opinion, Tile is better than AirTag in price. It offers a variety of affordable options that are perfect for folks on a budget.


Now, let’s focus on a major concern: privacy invasion. It’s one thing to locate a lost backpack, but it’s an entirely different and alarming situation when someone tracks you without your knowledge. Consider the troubling reports from Cornell University’s Veterinary College. Some students discovered AirTags attached to their cars, tracking them. This event shows how these devices can go from being helpful to ways of snooping that we don’t want.

Apple is tackling privacy worries with their AirTags by updating them. Now, if your iPhone spots an AirTag moving with you that isn’t yours, it’ll let you know. This helps stop someone from tracking you without your knowledge. Also, AirTags will beep if they’re away from their owner too long, so you can find any hidden ones. Apple is working hard to make AirTags helpful but also keep your privacy safe.

Tile is working on privacy issues, too. They added an Anti-Theft Mode to their trackers. This new mode keeps the Tile hidden from anti-stalking tools. But to avoid misuse, Tile requires users to pass a strict verification process. This includes confirming your identity and agreeing to strict rules. Misusing a Tile to track someone without their consent can lead to a fine of up to $1 million. Tile is committed to fighting theft while protecting privacy.

Who Wins The Privacy Game?

Privacy is a tough nut to crack, but I’m tipping my hat to Tile. Apple’s AirTag can alert your iPhone when unfamiliar AirTags pop up, making a loud noise if a tag is away for a long time. But Tile’s new trick, the Anti-Theft Mode, is a game-winner. This special mode keeps Tiles hidden from anti-tracking tools. Firm rules and a big penalty show Tile cares about privacy. Its top-notch work to stop theft and protect privacy nudges Tile ahead in the privacy game.


Well, folks, reviewing the pros and cons of Tile versus Apple’s AirTag has been a wild ride, and the time for judgment has arrived.

When considering which tracker can tackle tough conditions, both Tile and AirTag keep in step with each other pretty well. They brush off some gnarly weather and handle unexpected dip dives like champs. But don’t leave them in a hot car or deep-sea dive – they won’t thank you.

As for range, Tile Pro’s solid 400-foot reach gave me peace of mind during my dog’s park adventures. But in a bustling cityscape filled with iPhones, AirTag’s Find My network shines.

Thinking about battery life? Both trackers ran the endurance race well, lasting a month of hard running, standing by for months, and bouncing back for action.

The biggest divide appears when we discuss app features and user interface. If you’re an Android user, Tile’s the clear winner. But for the die-hard Apple fans, the ease of setup, Siri integration, and familiar Find My app make AirTag a strong contender.

Price-wise, Tile caters to the budget-conscious with ‘good, better, best’ options. AirTag is a bit pricier for a single tracker but bundles up to offer a good deal for a pack of four, especially if you’re already living in the Apple universe.

Now, on to the deciding factor – Privacy. Tile takes the crown with its well-thought-out Anti-Theft Mode and stringent privacy rules and penalties, going the extra mile to tackle privacy issues better.

Looking back at the big picture, it’s a pretty close race. But, if you’re asking me to call it, I’d say Tile has the edge. Its top-notch work to stop theft, commitment to protect privacy, and Android compatibility are crucial points tipping the scale in its favor.

So, what’s my piece of advice? If you often switch between both iPhone and Android, Tile gives you the freedom to move. Tile has something for every wallet size if you’re on a budget. And if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem or knee-deep in urban iPhone territories, Apple’s AirTag is your buddy.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s not just about the device you choose but also the practicality and purpose it serves for you.

So, folks, which one will it be?


Mobile technology writer.

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