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Apple AirTags vs GPS for Dog tracking: What system should you use?

April 20, 2021 3 min read

Millions of dogs get lost every year. They either decide to go on a solo adventure or get stolen.

These are disturbing numbers, particularly when you consider how our furry friends make us happy every day. It is our responsibility to keep them safe & secure.

If you want to track your dog, you've got two options:

  • Apple AirTag Dog Tracking
  • GPS Dog Tracking

Learn more about the AirTag Dog Collar

 

Here are the differences between them and what you should look out for.

 

Advantages of Apple AirTags:

    1. Modern ultra-wideband technology
    2. Community find
    3. Every phone (yes iPhone & Android) can scan the AirTag and contact you
    4. 1-year battery life
    5. You can just insert the AirTag and never think about recharging
    6. Works in every country without the need of a sim card
    7. They're small and pretty - who wants to have a big & ugly GPS device on their dog?
    8. Work with the "Find My" app on your iPhone - no need to download another app
    9. Can locate your dog down to millimetre accuracy
    10. You don't have to pay for a subscription for tracking your dog
    11. They are IP67 water- & dust-resistant

Disadvantages of Apple AirTags:

  1. You need an iPhone to use it
  2. Relies on other Apple devices to find your dog
  3. Don't offer activity tracking

We've published a comprehensive review of the Apple AirTags. Check it out here.

 

Advantages of GPS Tracker:

  1. Usually offer global coverage (with a paid sim card plan though)
  2. Unlimited range without relying on other devices, when the GPS has a connection
  3. Real-time localisation
  4. Most GPS Trackers do have an IPX water resistance rating
  5. 24 hr position history: find out where your dog was in the last 24 hours (decreases battery life rapidly)
  6. Activity tracking

Disadvantages of GPS Tracker:

  1. Requires a sim card plan that you pay for monthly
  2. Does not work well indoors & can have connection issues under bad weather or when there is no clear view of the sky
  3. Adds to the app-clutter: Requires to download an app
  4. The additional apps you have to download are often buggy and slow
  5. GPS devices are big - everyone can see it
  6. Most GPS devices only offer 2-5 days battery life
  7. You have to charge the GPS every day to make sure the GPS doesn't run out of battery while your dog is lost
  8. No NFC tag to scan and contact you

Buy AirTag Dog Collar


What should you use to track your dog?

If you live in urban areas and have an iPhone, our recommendation is to use the Apple AirTags. Most dogs, at some point, come across people in their solo adventures. In that case, you'll be able to pinpoint exactly where your dog is - even if they're somewhere indoors. AirTags are great if you want to have the safety to find your dog wherever it might go. As long as your dog comes across other people, you will be able to locate your best friend. An AirTag on your dog is basically like a dog microchip but with superpowers. If you decide to go with the AirTags, we're having the perfect collar for you. Get the FollowPaw Dog Collar now!

GPS trackers might be a better choice for hiking trips or if you live on the countryside, as it's unlikely that your dog will come across many other people in the mountains. But be aware - GPS trackers only have battery life between two to five days. Additionally, if your dog is overweight and you want to track daily activity, a GPS tracker might help your dog become fitter.

 

Final Thoughts

Both systems have their pros and cons. What's best for your dog depends very much on your use case. You could also use both AirTags and GPS simultaneously.

It is important to emphasize that neither system can give you a 100% guarantee to find your dog. But if your dog is lost, they increase the chance that you find him/her again a lot. Tracking your dog should only be used as a backup system. So please take all measures that your dog does not run away in the first place. 

 

 


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