• Matt T

How helpful is the Tile for people who lose things regularly?

The Tile website opens with the message ‘Never Lose Anything’. A bold claim!

As someone who has ‘Always Lost Most Things’ to a degree that it could probably feature on my CV (if only I could find it) this was something I was super keen to try and put it really to the test.

As a child I was painfully aware of losing my stuff. I used to wear my school cardigan in all seasons, just so I didn’t lose it. Things just seemed to disappear all the time – I hated it. No matter how hard I tried to keep track of my PE kit whilst getting changed, somehow it didn’t end up back in the bag at the end. I constantly checked I had all my things, and it was a daily heart-sink when I noticed another thing had gone missing.

As an adult and after years of possessions going astray, I have learned and developed ways of managing my things better. I’ve successfully reduced losing things down to what I think will probably be the lowest it will go with my own endeavours, and I now teach a lot of these techniques to other organisationally-challenged beings in coaching sessions.

So with this in mind I was excited to try out The Tile.

A Tile is best described as a keyring sized tracker. For a start, it makes you feel less alone in your challenges, claiming to find 3 million items lost by other people EACH DAY. Phew. I’m definitely not alone in losing things then.

You attach a Tile to each item you want to keep track of: car keys, house keys, wallet, purse, laptop, tablets and bags. It has a reverse tracker for your phone – I’ll talk a bit more about that in a sec – so you wouldn’t need a separate one for your phone.

I bought a multipack of Tiles from Amazon (the best deal I found at the time). They make several different kinds of Tile for different purposes. Breaking it down:

  • Tile Pro is the strongest, loudest, weightiest and most expensive.

  • Tile Mate is the one I went for. It’s middle of the range on all features.

  • Tile Slim is the thinnest one. It’s designed for using in wallets or attaching to devices, when you don’t want the extra bulk. On the down-side, it’s the only one which doesn’t have a replaceable battery (the other two do)

My Tile Mates soon arrived and once unwrapped, were easy to set up. You need to download an app to your phone for free (available on both Apple App Store or Google Play Store).

Pro-tip: They work as one Tile per object. So pair them one at a time, making sure to label them in the app with what you’re about to attach them to and then attaching them to your chosen object.

This took me less than five minutes. A little more fiddly was attaching the Tiles themselves – they have an inflexible punched out hole in the plastic to facilitate you attaching them to a keyring or zip. But, once that small hurdle has been overcome, I had a newly Tile-d up backpack, keys, tablet and passport. Oh and your phone is automatically Tile-d up too. So if you press the button on your Tile twice, your phone rings, even if it’s set to silent. I have accidentally detonated this by sitting on my Tile, leading to much confusion. But it’s a small price to pay.

The Tile app also has a premium function which is a subscription service. This includes annual replacement batteries and a prompt to your phone if you appear to have left home without something with a Tile on it – such as your keys. I activated the free trial of this, but decided not to continue with it. It lagged a lot, so reminders that I’d left my keys behind came when I was already pretty far away. That bit didn’t work for me at all.

But the Tiles themselves are highly recommended. They’ve saved me a lot of time and stress.

When I can’t find my keys in the mornings (I swear I always put them in my bag) I can click their icon in my phone and they start beeping. Found. The same for my tablet, which I take out with me and have a propensity to leaving in other peoples’ homes (sorry!) Easily located with the help of my Tile. I have yet to lose my backpack or passport, but knowing they are Tile-d up has been really reassuring when travelling. I’ve also used my Tile to locate my phone regularly. If you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa you can ask it to ring your Tile too, which is reassuring should you ever lose your phone AND your keys.

Inside a building, the Tile uses Bluetooth and ringing to help you find it. But don’t fear, should you lose a Tile-d item out and about, the Tile has a solution for this too. On your app, it tells you the last place the Tile was seen. You can also anonymously enlist the help of other Tile users in finding your item. Once you register something lost, if another person who has Tile on their phone goes anywhere near your Tile, the app will let you know where the signal was. I thought this wouldn’t be much use in South Devon (not very urban) but actually there are a lot of Tile users down here too.

The only downside of the device itself is that the Mate version is a little flimsy, which is a compromise on expense and bulkiness compared to the Pro version. For my needs, the Mate has withstood what it needs to over the last few months, but a Pro is probably more resilient.

Cost is the initial investment in the product, with a yearly replacement battery needed (except the Slim which needs to be entirely replaced), which for me is worthwhile because of the potential saving in losing things. And again, I wouldn’t bother with the Premium upgrade in its current form.

Overall, The Tile a really solid 4/5.

Pros: Saves time and stress, easy to set up and use, provides reassurance especially for commonly misplaced or particularly expensive items. Frees up brain-space to focus on other things.

Cons: An initial outlay followed by annual battery replacement. The premium app wasn’t worthwhile for me.

Dr Emma Tremaine trained as a medical doctor and psychiatrist before starting up a social enterprise specialising in comprehensively supporting adults and young people with Dyspraxia (The Dyspraxic Doctor). She also provides regular emotional and social skills therapy for children and young people who have a neurodevelopmental diagnosis (including Autism/Aspergers and ADHD). Dr Emma has Dyspraxia herself and is a passionate writer and speaker about neurodiversity, mental health and her own experience becoming a doctor with a hidden disability. She also enjoys horse riding, yoga, amateur sewing and making people laugh.

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