mobile phone accessories, tile sticker (2022)
Good (3.0)

Bottom Line

The Tile Sticker is a discreet and inexpensive tracker that you can easily attach to household items such as remote controls and kids' toys, but its short range limits its utility for anything else. US Street Price$54.99

  • Pros

    • Small
    • Adhesive sticks well and removes cleanly
  • Cons

    • Expensive
    • Limited range
    • Non-replaceable battery

If you’ve ever wasted time searching for your remote or your kid’s favorite toy, the Tile Sticker ($54.99 for a two-pack) can help. This tiny tracker affixes to just about any non-porous surface and has a battery that will last for years (though it isn’t replaceable, so you’ll need to buy a new Sticker when it dies). However, the Sticker’s limited range means you shouldn’t use it to track big-ticket items that ever leave the house. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the $34.99 Tile Pro is a better option, with longer range and a replaceable battery. Our top pick in this category is the $29 AirTag, though it only works with Apple devices.


The Tiniest Tile

The Tile Sticker is a small dot with an adhesive back. It measures just over an inch in diameter and is 0.3-inch thick. For comparison, Apple’s AirTag is about 22% larger.

Only available in black, the Tile Sticker is made of textured plastic with a rubber bumper. The front has a few holes for the speaker and a petite rubber button.

The adhesive keeps the Sticker firmly attached to non-porous surfaces such as plastic, and won’t leave a mark when it’s removed. The plastic shell is durable, and its IP67 rating means Sticker will easily survive a drop in a puddle; of course, the item it’s attached to may not fare as well.

mobile phone accessories, tile sticker (2022)

The Tile Sticker (right) is smaller than Apple’s AirTag (left)

The tracker’s non-replaceable battery should last about three years. If you don’t use it frequently, we think that estimate is spot-on; we’ve tested a few Tile trackers that still work fine after two or three years. If you’re not a fan of e-waste, the Tile Pro or AirTag are better options, though both are larger. Otherwise, check Tile’s website for info on its recycling program.


Setup and App

Unlike the AirTag and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, all of Tile’s trackers work with both Android and iOS. To get started, download the Tile app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Create an account and enable whatever permissions the app prompts you to so it can always access the Sticker. Once that’s done, press the button on the side of the tracker to associate it with your account.

mobile phone accessories, tile sticker (2022)

Left to right: Tile Sticker, Tile Mate, Tile Pro, Tile Slim

The app allows you to customize the icon, name, and ringtone of any Tile tracker linked to your account, but the UI looks pretty elementary. For example, if you associate more than a few Tile trackers with your account, you have to scroll through a list of unnecessarily large icons to locate the one you want.

In addition to the basic Tile locator features, you can opt for a Premium subscription. New customers get a free Premium subscription for the first year; after that, its costs $29.99 annually. Premium gives you access to 30-day location history, unlimited location sharing, premium customer care, and Smart Alerts. That last feature sends alerts to your phone when an item you’ve tagged goes out of range. Apple offers a similar feature with the AirTag for free.


Stuck on Your Stuff

The Sticker is a two-way tracker, meaning you can easily find it using the Tile app on your phone, and you can also locate your phone by pressing the button on your tracker. If you’ve managed to misplace both items, you can use Amazon and Google smart home devices to ping them, though you’ll need to have set that integration up in advance. Comcast’s Xfinity Voice remote can find your items for you as well; of course, if your Tile is attached to your remote, that’s not an option. Unfortunately, you can’t use Tile’s website to find your missing items.

Tile claims the Sticker has a 250-foot Bluetooth range. In absolutely perfect conditions, you might be able to get that range, but that’s an unlikely scenario in the real world. Tiles, unlike AirTags, don’t use ultra-wideband, which enables better connectivity. In our tests, the Sticker’s range varied widely and topped out at about 50 feet in a large parking garage. When we tested its connectivity in an apartment, the Sticker frequently lost connection with the app when we moved between rooms.

The Sticker’s speaker maxes out at 114db, but once you’re more than a few inches away, it’s about 85dB, which is still loud enough to hear in most spaces. You can choose from several polyphonic ringtones, most of which are so annoying that you’ll tear your house apart just to find the tracker and make it stop.

mobile phone accessories, tile sticker (2022)

The Tile Sticker’s limited range makes it best for items you misplace at home

Once the Tile is out of range, you can report the item as lost by tapping the Notify When Found icon in the app. The feature will notify you as soon as another user with the Tile app installed on their phone gets close to the Sticker. To see how long it would take to find a lost item, we tested the Sticker alongside an AirTag in a busy apartment lobby.

Tile’s app stated there were nearly 11,000 users within a few miles of the building, so we assumed we would receive an alert within minutes. While we received an AirTag notification almost immediately, we waited nearly four hours to be reunited with our lost item to which we affixed the Tile Sticker. Apple’s implementation of this feature offers some advantages. Primarily, Apple’s Find My app (what you use to link the AirTag to your phone) is preinstalled and doesn’t require much setup. With Tile, you’re dependent on users who not only install the Tile app, but also set their location permissions correctly.

When we received the notification that the app located our lost Tile item, it also provided the correct location address. That’s a good start, but if you don’t know exactly where you left your lost item, the hunt has just begun. If your Tile shows up at an airport terminal or in a grocery store, you’ll probably need to explore a bit to get in the Sticker’s range.

Once the item is in range, tap the Find icon to turn on the alert sound. Apple’s AirTag provides very precise, turn-by-turn directions, but what you get on the Tile App is much more rudimentary: an icon floating over a map wrapped with several circles. As you close in on your item, the circles start to turn green. Finally, you see a notice that says Close or Very Close, at which point you should be able to hear the tone.

Given the Sticker’s limited range and the possible long wait to locate missing items with it attached, this tracker is best for home use. We think it’s risky to use it on your laptop or items of significant value. But if you do decide to use it in the wild and believe someone may have swiped your belongings, all hope is not lost. You can tap Find in the app to set off the alert send, possibly spooking or at least identifying the thief. However, they can simply push the Sticker’s button to turn off the alert, remove the Sticker entirely, and walk off with your property.

You may have heard concerns about the possibility that the AirTag can be used to track a person without their knowledge. Unfortunately, any digital tracker, including Tiles, can be used that way. Apple added additional protections to the AirTag shortly after it was released, and Tile plans to add a Scan and Secure feature in 2022 to notify you if there’s an unassigned Tile nearby. If you believe you’re the victim of cyberstalking, you can find excellent resources online from experts in handling such threats.


Small and Sticks Anywhere

The Tile Sticker is a tiny adhesive sidekick that’s useful for finding those items that constantly end up wedged in the couch cushions (your remote is the obvious candidate). But its limited range makes it best for inexpensive things that tend to stay within your home or car. You also can’t replace its battery down the line, so you’ll need to buy a new one when it dies. If you’re an Apple user, the AirTag is a better bet and our Editors’ Choice winner. For Android owners, the longer-range Tile Pro is your best option.

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