Handyman: Tracking apps,devices help find lost items
Ever since the TV remote control was introduced, it seems misplacing it has become a daily occurrence around the house. But there are many more items we can’t live without that seem to get lost regularly, such as your smartphone, key fob and wallet, just to name a few. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps that you can use to find those lost items quickly.
First of all, if you have a tendency to lose your smartphone you can’t use it to find anything. Sure you can just call it, but what happens if the phone is muted? Look at installing either Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager. They are both free apps that help you locate a missing smartphone via GPS using a computer, laptop or tablet.
Owners of the Amazon Echo and Google Home digital assistant speakers can also call on that technology to find a missing phone. Echo users can enable the Find My Phone skill and Home users can have the Google Assistant and Phone Call channels activated.
Now let’s get back to that wandering TV remote. You can use a product like the EasyFinder. Easyfinder, easyfindertv.com, is a low-power Bluetooth transmitter that allows you to substitute one of the AA or AAA batteries in your TV or gaming remote control with the EasyFinder battery, and then locate the remote using the Easyfinder app on your smartphone or tablet.
If you seem to lose a lot more than your TV remote or phone, you can use a product like the TrackR, thetrackr.com. By attaching a coin-sized tracking device to any item like keys or a wallet, you can use the TrackR app on your phone or tablet to locate the lost item by making the tracker ring. It even has a distance indicator built into the app that will show if you’re getting closer to your lost item.
And the TrackR Atlas model also uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to map out your home and detect any item with a tracker attached and pinpoint the room it is in. You can even see the history of where your item has been in the house.
Tile, thetileapp.com, is another similar device that allows you to clip its small tracking devices on your important items to help find them using the app. In addition, it also offers a wallet insert tracker shaped like a small credit card; a luggage tag you can use with the Tile device to track your luggage when you travel; and a special adhesive that enables you to attach the Tile devices to a variety of items, such as your remote control, a tape measure or your eyeglass case. Their new Pro series features have twice the range, twice the volume and are waterproof.
Keeping track of your power tools when you are doing a project around the house or on a job site can be a chore, but power tool manufacturers have also gotten into the tracking game, including Black and Decker’s Smartech line of connected products, blackanddecker.com; DeWalt’s Tool Connect, dewalt.com; and Milwaukee Tool’s Tick tool and equipment tracker system using their One Key app, milwaukeetool.com.
So instead of wandering around the house for hours looking for lost items, let the advanced technology available through your smartphone and tablets help you find things faster.
For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show With Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 from 8-10 a.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.