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Choosing the Right Tracking Solution: Apple AirTag vs. Dedicated GPS Tracking Devices for Cars


GPS was initially developed to enhance the military’s capabilities for navigation, targeting, and reconnaissance. It allowed military personnel and vehicles to accurately determine their position anywhere on the globe, even in remote or hostile environments.

However, after the system was made available for civilian use in the 1980s, GPS quickly found applications beyond the military. It revolutionized navigation for various industries and everyday consumers, leading to its integration into smartphones, vehicles, aviation, surveying, logistics, and many other sectors.

The first car GPS tracking technology was developed in the early 1990s. The technology involved combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) with cellular communication to track the location of a vehicle. The system used a GPS receiver to determine the vehicle’s precise location and then transmitted that information via cellular networks to a central monitoring station.

Since then, GPS tracking technology has evolved significantly, becoming more sophisticated and widespread. It is now commonly used in various applications, including vehicle navigation, theft recovery systems, and fleet management.

With so many options out in the market, how do you know what works best for you and your customers?

An increasingly popular choice these days is the Apple AirTag, which may appear to be the most appealing option for consumers. However, it is not the most optimal solution for vehicles sold through dealerships or for comprehensive theft protection and recovery.

The main difference between an Apple AirTag and a dedicated GPS tracking device for cars lies in their functionality, purpose, and features.

  1. Connectivity and Tracking Technology:

   – Apple AirTag: AirTags primarily rely on Bluetooth technology and the Find My app ecosystem. They connect to an iPhone or other Apple devices within Bluetooth range to track the location of a tagged item.

   – GPS Tracking Device: Dedicated GPS tracking devices for cars utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to accurately track and locate a vehicle’s position. These devices typically use cellular or satellite networks to transmit location data in real-time.

  1. Range and Coverage:

   – Apple AirTag: AirTags have a limited range for tracking, typically up to a few hundred feet or meters, depending on the surrounding environment. They rely on nearby Apple devices to relay their location to the owner.

   – GPS Tracking Device: GPS tracking devices provide broader coverage, allowing the vehicle’s location to be tracked over larger areas, including remote locations and areas with weak cellular network coverage.

  1. Purpose and Features:

   – Apple AirTag: AirTags are primarily designed for personal item tracking, such as keys, wallets, and bags. They offer features like playing a sound to help locate a nearby item and leverage the Find My app ecosystem for tracking.

   – GPS Tracking Device: Dedicated GPS tracking devices for cars are specifically designed for vehicle tracking and offer a range of advanced features. These may include real-time location tracking, geofencing (setting virtual boundaries), historical route tracking, speed monitoring, tamper alerts, engine diagnostics, and remote immobilization in case of theft.

  1. Power Source and Battery Life:

   – Apple AirTag: AirTags use user-replaceable batteries that can last for about a year, depending on usage.

   – GPS Tracking Device: GPS tracking devices for cars are typically hardwired to the vehicle’s power source and do not rely on batteries. They have a continuous power supply and can operate as long as the vehicle’s battery is functional.

It’s important to note that while AirTags are convenient for personal item tracking, they may not provide the same level of functionality, security, and real-time tracking capabilities as dedicated GPS tracking devices designed specifically for vehicles. If you require robust tracking features for your car, a dedicated GPS tracking device would be a more suitable choice.

Interested in learning more or have more questions about our Dealership program that includes 24/7 vehicle monitoring and stolen vehicle recovery system? Feel free to reach out to us at salessupport@starshieldsolutions.com or contact us at 1.866.662.4477.