For people distrustful of new technology, the Tile app may feel a bit Orwellian. You can put an insignificant and unnoticeable chip on something to track its location?! Yes, and welcome to the future. For now, it's only a harmless way to find your keys. While a handful of companies have already solved that problem (clapping key finder! Duh!), Tile's approach is sleeker, more universal and harnesses the power of our obsession with tapping away on phones.
Tile is a little, white square with rounded edges and a hole for looping through a key ring. It also comes with peel-away adhesive so you can attach it to just about anything you fear losing—your computer, bike, mind, etc. Locating the missing object works like the Hot and Cold game: using Bluetooth, the app registers where the physical Tile is within its range (up to 100 feet), and the bars spike up the closer you get. When your phone is right next to it, Tile rings out a little melody. The square actually resembles something Apple would design—fitting, considering it's only for iOS7.
Tile also enlists other apps to help find your stuff. If your purse is lost, Tile puts other Tile users' phones on high alert. When your Tile comes within the Bluetooth range of another phone, it will discreetly alert that person and send you the Tile's location pinpointed on a map.
The one downfall is that our most important—and often most lost—item, cell phones, can't be tracked. But the company is developing a way for people to share Tiles, so if you lose your phone, your partner can track it on his or hers. In the meantime . . . have you seen my wallet?