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Micro tracking device - does it exist?

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Micro tracking device - does it exist?

Old 03-20-23, 03:15 PM
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Micro tracking device - does it exist?

I couldn’t find an effective “micro” tracking device for a bike (in case of theft) and I am wondering whether such thing really exists at this moment on the market. Necessary features should be:
- Minimum size and weight (to easily hide it)
- “Sleep” mode with very low consumption and long battery life
- Send GPS location via SIM at request, e.g.: when sms is send to sim number. Location Coordinates could then be identified on google maps with the mobile phone or PC.
That would be all. Led lights, voice recording, memory card, alarm sound, etc - all are useless and only increase size/weight and reduce battery life.

Did anybody see such device on the market?
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Old 03-20-23, 03:25 PM
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The closest (but not exact) match for that might be an Apple AirTag. I've got a couple of these. Not much use if you don't have an iPhone though.

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Old 03-20-23, 03:26 PM
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Sounds like a very difficult design problem.
Low battery usage, but it's always connected to the cell system and listening for a text message? How would that work.
Transmitting from within an aluminum or steel frame tube -- would the signal get out?

I've seen reports of cyclists tracking down their stolen bike that had an Air Tag on it. They knew it was inside a building, but the cops wouldn't do anything about it. Others have recovered their own bike, with the help of some large friends.

So far, the thieves aren't smart enough to have apps to check for Air Tag, Samsung Tags, and the other ones. The app would tell them they are being "stalked" since the tag would stay nearby them.
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Old 03-20-23, 03:29 PM
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My Tiles last for months and months without having to change the battery. The smallest ones are small enough to slip into a small saddlebag. You might be able to hide one in the seat tube - you'd need a way to retrieve it though, i.e., fishing line attached to the seat post. But I'm not sure if they'd be able to pick up a wifi signal through a steel or aluminum tube. Not sure about carbon fiber.
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Old 03-20-23, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist
The closest (but not exact) match for that might be an Apple AirTag. I've got a couple of these. Not much use if you don't have an iPhone though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjLbxywixro
Indeed, an issue. I use Android phone...
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Old 03-20-23, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Sounds like a very difficult design problem.
Low battery usage, but it's always connected to the cell system and listening for a text message? How would that work.
Transmitting from within an aluminum or steel frame tube -- would the signal get out?.
I would say only being activated by a predefined standard sms. I was thinking about a carbon bike, as this is more and more the norm nowadays.
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Old 03-20-23, 04:47 PM
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Stuff designed for purely misplaced items is not ideal for stolen goods. I think a lot of companies are just jumping onto trends without thinking about it.

This is one I saw a few years ago and it seems like it is viable as it has stuck around: https://www.viasatonline.it/en/products/sherlock-2-0/
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Old 03-20-23, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist
The closest (but not exact) match for that might be an Apple AirTag. I've got a couple of these. Not much use if you don't have an iPhone though.
An AirTag does not work well as a theft recovery tracking device because a thief with an iPhone would be (1) warned about the Air Tag, and (2) able to disable the AirTag.

What to do if you get an alert that an AirTag, Find My network accessory, or set of AirPods is with you - Apple Support
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Old 03-20-23, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Indeed, an issue. I use Android phone...
You still might be able to use the AirTag (maybe, recruit a friend with an iPhone).
It seems that Google is planning on their own system.
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Old 03-20-23, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
My Tiles last for months and months without having to change the battery. The smallest ones are small enough to slip into a small saddlebag. You might be able to hide one in the seat tube - you'd need a way to retrieve it though, i.e., fishing line attached to the seat post. But I'm not sure if they'd be able to pick up a wifi signal through a steel or aluminum tube. Not sure about carbon fiber.
The Tile network isn't big enough for this purpose. The AirTag network might not be big enough (and it's many, many times larger).
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Old 03-20-23, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
The Tile network isn't big enough for this purpose. The AirTag network might not be big enough (and it's many, many times larger).
This was the primary reason I switched from Tiles to AirTags.
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Old 03-20-23, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
The Tile network isn't big enough for this purpose. The AirTag network might not be big enough (and it's many, many times larger).
I'm an Android so Tiles are my only option.

Coincidentally, I just located a Tile halfway around the world in the Philippines
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Old 03-21-23, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I'm an Android so Tiles are my only option.

Coincidentally, I just located a Tile halfway around the world in the Philippines
This doesn’t really contradict what I said.

These things don’t mean it is going to be useful generally.

https://www.makeuseof.com/airtag-vs-tile/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirTag

Tile network: 35 million.
AirTag network: 1000 million.

The Tile network is never going to get that big and it might not get much bigger than it already is. It might even get smaller.

(Some of the Tile models have much longer range than the AirTags.)

There’s some indication that Google is planning an AirTag clone.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023...ndroid-phones/

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-21-23 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 03-21-23, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
This doesn’t really contradict what I said.

These things don’t mean it is going to be useful generally.

https://www.makeuseof.com/airtag-vs-tile/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirTag

Tile network: 35 million.
AirTag network: 1000 million.

The Tile network is never going to get that big and it might not get much bigger than it already is. It might even get smaller.

(Some of the Tile models have much longer range than the AirTags.)

There’s some indication that Google is planning an AirTag clone.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023...ndroid-phones/
I know that the Tile network is much smaller. It was just a funny anecdote.
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Old 03-21-23, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I know that the Tile network is much smaller. It was just a funny anecdote.
It's a confusing anecdote. Your tile in the Philippines? ???

People are going to assume it's suggesting that Tile would be useful as a theft-tracker. Tile might be useful but its network is going to be too small for theft-tracking (the Apple network might not really be large enough).
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Old 03-21-23, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
The AirTag network might not be big enough (and it's many, many times larger).
Originally Posted by njkayaker
... (the Apple network might not really be large enough).
The problem with the Apple network is not whether it is large enough. An iOS device (and maybe also a MacBook) would warn its user if it is being tracked by an AirTag whose owner is not also in the proximity of the AirTag, and allow the user to disable the AirTag. (See the link in my post #8 above.) Good for privacy, bad for theft recovery.
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Old 03-21-23, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
The problem with the Apple network is not whether it is large enough. An iOS device (and maybe also a MacBook) would warn its user if it is being tracked by an AirTag whose owner is not also in the proximity of the AirTag, and allow the user to disable the AirTag. (See the link in my post #8 above.) Good for privacy, bad for theft recovery.
I know about that. I wonder how many bike thieves are rocking iPhones.

I suspect the time available for tracking something that is stolen is short anyway. The AirTag warning isn't immediate. So, it might be long enough.

There's a relatively-simple way of disabling the noise maker in the AirTag.

The Tile network is likely small enough that it warning people doesn't matter.
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Old 03-21-23, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
It's a confusing anecdote. Your tile in the Philippines? ???

People are going to assume it's suggesting that Tile would be useful as a theft-tracker. Tile might be useful but its network is going to be too small for theft-tracking (the Apple network might not really be large enough).
Yes, it was my Tile.

I don't think people will be misled. I recognized that the Tile network is smaller by quoting your post. And I wrote, "Coincidentally" which is just that, a coincidence. Not an endorsement or refutation. A coincidence.

Whether or not the Tile of Airtag will work due to network size or the privacy issues with the Airtags that SoSmellyAir brought up, the answer is...it depends. Neither will be as good as the OP wishes, but they won't be entirely useless either, as there's a chance that they can relay the last known location from time to time and narrow any search efforts.

OP, for reference, I sometimes travel with a Spot tracker. It's about the size of a deck of cards and pings its location off of satellites, so it's not dependent upon limited cell, wifi, or nearby bluetooth devices. As long as it can see the sky, it can report it's position. Garmin has a competing product that's maybe half the size. That's basically where we are in terms of the size of consumer location devices that can work in remote areas.
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Old 03-21-23, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I don't think people will be misled. I recognized that the Tile network is smaller by quoting your post. And I wrote, "Coincidentally" which is just that, a coincidence. Not an endorsement or refutation. A coincidence.
My point was that it is too small to be useful (except "coincidentally"). Not just that the "network is smaller".

Originally Posted by john m flores
Whether or not the Tile of Airtag will work due to network size or the privacy issues with the Airtags that SoSmellyAir brought up, the answer is...it depends. Neither will be as good as the OP wishes, but they won't be entirely useless either, as there's a chance that they can relay the last known location from time to time and narrow any search efforts.
Some people are way too optimistic about how well these things would work. The Tile is probably close to useless (simply based on the relative network size). "it depends" isn't really an answer: will you find a $20 bill on the ground? "It depends" (obviously/meaninglessly) but it's not a good way to get $20 bills. The "chance" is much better with AirTags.

It's probably much more worth while taking efforts to avoid the bike being stolen in the first place.

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-21-23 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 03-21-23, 01:39 PM
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I hope that OP Redbullet has the info they need to make an informed decision.

I'm out.
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Old 03-21-23, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I hope that OP Redbullet has the info they need to make an informed decision.

I'm out.
Unfortunately, it looks that such dedicated device does not really exist. Looking to the over-complex bike computers, smart phones, smart watches or other similar devices, by comparison, I don't think that producing a device as I imagined would be more difficult, on the contrary. But maybe there is not a real market out there for such a device.
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Old 03-21-23, 02:23 PM
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Old 03-21-23, 06:26 PM
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Tile network is too small for it too work effectively. I have one in my car, parked on a city street. Rarely registers a hit.
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Old 03-21-23, 07:01 PM
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This device hides in your handlebars, tracks GPS location, and reports its location via cellular network:

https://www.viasatonline.it/en/products/sherlock-2-0/

I used one for a couple of years, until the cellular contract ran out. It worked.

Now I just us an Apple Tag.
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Old 03-22-23, 10:31 AM
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The air tag is going to take some time before it notifies the thief they’re being tracked. ( it was 8-24 hours, although Apple said some time ago they planned to shorten the time.)The thief also has to have an IPhone, and have find my turned on. So while less than ideal for theft recovery, there’s a decent chance you’ll get a lead before the air tag is disabled. Also, if I were a thief, and figured out I’d been tracked, I’d be ditching the bike ASAP.
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