This week's sponsor

CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.


Tile, A Convenient Tag That Keeps Track of Anything

On your keyring, in your backpack or travel luggage, or attached to your laptop, Tile keeps track of your valuables so you can easily find them wherever they may go. Tile resembles a small white square that's only a few millimeters thick, making it both pocketable and small enough to be conveniently attached to gadgets or personal belongings. It's small enough that you can slip it into a wallet's pocket, or you can simply adhere it to the surface of a MacBook.

Tile will work over Bluetooth 4.0 with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad mini, 3rd or 4th generation iPads, and the 5th generation iPod touch. A Tile app for the iPhone will let you track all of your Tiles within a 50 ft to 150 ft range, displaying a small marker to help you find lost or misplaced items. These Tiles definitely aren't GPS aware, meaning that you wouldn't be find misplaced luggage if it was half way around the world (more on this in a bit). But Tile is certainly useful if you forget your jacket or drop your keys in an airport terminal. Tiles can be rung so you can audibly hear where your items are, and like a metal detector, an indicator in the app points you in the right direction of the things you're trying to find when you're close by.

Tile is discretely social, which in theory is supposed to overcome its limitations of not being a true GPS tracking device. If a bunch of people are using Tiles and its cloud service, then it's possible you would be able to recover something was that stolen or dropped outside of the range of your iPhone. When you mark a Tile as lost, other Tile users' phones will be notified of the lost item, and will begin searching for it in the background. Because everyone's phone would be inherently connected, that means you should be able to find your lost Tile by proxy through someone else. No personal information or details about what the Tile is attached to are shared - the phone simply and secretly relays back whether it's found the lost item and where it is to the original owner.

Although a Tile is relatively affordable (roughly $20 per Tile), a downside is that Tile has no replaceable batteries, and it'll need to be replaced on a yearly basis as it loses its charge.

Tile is currently available through pre-order, having already been successfully funded through Selfstarter, a roll-your-own crowdfunding solution that gives creators more control over the marketing and presentation of their product on their own sites. You'll earn additional Tiles if you pre-order in bulk, and it's expected to ship late this year or in early 2014.

Unlock MacStories Extras

Club MacStories offers exclusive access to extra MacStories content, delivered every week; it's also a way to support us directly.

Club MacStories will help you discover the best apps for your devices and get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Plus, it's made in Italy.

Starting at $5/month, with an annual option available. Join the Club.

A Club MacStories membership includes:

  • MacStories Weekly newsletter, delivered every week on Friday with app collections, tips, iOS workflows, and more;
  • Monthly Log newsletter, delivered once every month with behind-the-scenes stories, app notes, personal journals, and more;
  • Access to occasional giveaways, discounts, and free downloads.