Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Bluetooth trackers like the Apple AirTag are a great way to keep track of things you could easily lose or don’t want to misplace – your keys, wallet, backpack, luggage and more. It’s an Apple product, so it’s not surprising that AirTags are already one of the most popular trackers you can get, despite only being released in 2021. But do AirTags work with Android? Here’s everything you need to know.
Continue reading: How to set up and use an Apple AirTag
No, you can’t use Apple AirTags with Android, but there are many excellent options for Android smartphones. If you’re worried about someone using an AirTag to track you, Apple has released the Tracker Detect app on the Play Store.
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Can you use AirTags with Android?
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Unfortunately, AirTags don’t work with Android, at least not in the way it was intended. While AirTags, like other smart trackers, use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with your smartphone, it relies on Apple’s Find My network to provide an accurate location. The AirTag not only sends a signal to your iPhone, but to every nearby iPhone. The other phones will also upload your tag’s location to the cloud so you can see the last known location. If you lose something with an AirTag attached, Apple uses this Find My network to provide accurate location information.
iPhones with the U1 Ultra Wideband chip get even more precision, with location tracking accuracy of up to inches. The iPhone 11 and newer, with the exception of the SE models, comes with the U1 chip.
There are some security concerns related to AirTags that Apple is trying to address, and that’s where the Android app comes in. While you can’t use AirTags on Android to track it, the Tracker Detect can search for AirTags near you on the Google Play Store. You can use the app if you suspect someone is using an AirTag to track you.
Is there an Android equivalent to AirTags?
Even though AirTags don’t work with Android, there are excellent alternatives. The first is a first-party option from Samsung that only works with Galaxy smartphones like AirTags and Apple devices. Tile makes some of the best Bluetooth trackers that work with all Android smartphones and Apple devices, and is an excellent choice if you want to avoid being locked into an ecosystem.
Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
The Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus are trackers that only work with Samsung smartphones as long as they run Android 8.0 Oreo and have at least 2GB of RAM. Just as the AirTag uses Apple’s Find My network, the SmartTags use the Galaxy Find network. It’s understandably accurate because a lot of people own Samsung smartphones, so finding the SmartTag shouldn’t be difficult, especially with its 390-foot range.
The SmarTag Plus steps things up with ultra wideband, using AR to find the exact location of the tracker within a few inches. However, you can only use this feature with Samsung phones that support UWB, including newer Samsung flagships and going back to the Galaxy S21 Plus, S21 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 2. If you don’t have B. a Samsung flagship, it’s better to use the cheaper SmartTags instead.
Tile has long been the go-to choice for Bluetooth trackers and is the best choice if you don’t want to be tied to a specific ecosystem. All Tile products support Android, iOS and even some smart speakers. There are many options to choose from depending on what you want to track. The Tile Slim can be slipped into a wallet card slot, the Tile Sticker can be stuck to any flat surface and the Tile Mate is a good basic tracker.
But the Tile Pro is the best of the bunch, with features similar to AirTag and SmartTag. It has a range of 400 feet and uses Tiles’ robust network to track the device outside of Bluetooth. You can also opt for a premium subscription to add features like 30-day location history, smart notifications, and item insurance up to $1,000 (with the more expensive Premium Protect plan). The Tile Pro is more expensive than some alternatives and has ongoing costs if you take out a subscription. However, it’s one of the best if you need cross-platform integration.