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Unofficial Testing Compares Apple AirTags to Google Find My Device — Which Tracker Wins?

Unofficial Testing Compares Apple AirTags to Google Find My Device — Which Tracker Wins?


Google's Find My Device feature was only released a few months ago, but that's long enough to draw comparisons with Apple's AirTags.

Recently, Reddit user u/chiselplow decided to put Find My Device to the test with AirTags in action. The test, shared by our friends at TechRadar, pitted a Pebblebee tracker against an AirTag by putting both trackers in a mailbox and mailing them to different states.

This test may be unfair, since Find My Device was only released in April, and Apple's Find My app has been around since 2019. Also, there are probably more tracked devices that use Find My Device than there are AirTags for Apple devices. Still, it's good to know what the current situation is.

Both trackers rely on anonymous, crowdsourced networks of nearby smartphones to pinpoint location, but chiselplow's tests showed very different results.

They claim that the Apple device continually updated the AirTag's location throughout the day, while the PebbleBee took 11 hours to show a new location, and in their tests, the PebbleBee actually failed to find a location at all.

At one point, they claimed that PebbleBee now defaults to showing the previous location, i.e. the sender's home. They also noted that the Find My Device map is grayscale and not very detailed, especially when compared to Apple's map with satellite mode.

Their conclusion was that Google's version of Find My Device isn't worth it: “Pebblebee and the Google Find My Device network are terrible, and as a whole, they're not currently deployed in a way that makes them useful, reliable, or worth spending money on.”

The Google version's problems could be linked to a few different but common issues: One is the dominance of the iPhone in the U.S., while Android is more prevalent in the rest of the world. Chiselowplow appears to be American.

Google has also made the Find My Device network default setting “High traffic areas only” – to change it, users must switch it to “All areas” or third-party manufacturers like Pebblebee must turn it on.

The tool also lacks features such as UWB (ultra-wideband), but these are expected to come along with support for augmented reality.A potential improvement would be the release of Google's Android AirTags, though the tech giant has yet to announce plans to develop such a product.

For now, based on this one test, the feature still leaves a lot to be desired, especially when compared to Apple's more robust tracking network.

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