Here are 3 good car GPS trackers for iOS and iPhones
Cars are easy targets. Criminals have figured out how to abuse keyless entry and ignition systems and law enforcement still recommend you use one of these, as well as a car GPS tracker so you can find your auto if it disappears.
GPS car trackers for iOS
I’ve done a little research and it looks as if these might be the three best car GPS trackers for iOS. I’ve not looked at every solution, so if you manufacture or use another system that you think is better than these, please let me know.
What is a car GPS tracker?
A car GPS tracker is a small device you attach to your car. These are typically pretty small (though cheaper ones tend to be larger), sometimes magnetic so they’ll stick to the chassis, and work a little like a mobile phone:
They contain a SIM card and while they can’t make calls, they can share their location over GPS. It’s important to note that most of these systems also need power. While many use rechargeable batteries some do not. In most cases these things don’t need to be wired into your car electronic systems.
When you choose a GPS tracker you need to consider that criminals are already aware of them and know to check places such as under the wheel arch or fuel tank for these things.
You also need to think about mobile network reception.
Do’s and don’ts of fitting a tracker
Many trackers are magnetic or can be enclosed in an additional magnetic box. You can attach these to the underside of your vehicle, or stash them inside your car.
The problem is that GPS can be unforgiving if it inside a big chunk of metal (like your car), which is why most people hide them under wheel arches, the fuel tank, on or under the dashboard, or stuff them inside the upholstery. Inside the bumpers or under the seat is another popular location.
The main thing to remember is that trackers don’t like being too occluded by metal, as this limits their signal. Also remember to test your system once it is installed.
How much do car GPS trackers cost?
My research has surfaced cheaper systems costing as little as $30, and more expensive systems costing $600 or more.
I think there’s an element of exploitation in some pricing models – people spend a lot on their vehicles and some tracker makers see that by offering what seems to be high-end products they can match the luxury lifestyle vision some car owners already demonstrate when they choose their ride.
A person who just invested in a $500,000 Land Rover is pretty unlikely to want to sully their new purchase with a $20 tracker – they’ll be much more likely to invest in something more high-end.
Compromises usually include battery life, robustness, and features beyond the core need of a car GPS tracker: finding your car.
You’ll also find some systems maintain a log of where your car has been – that’s good, I guess, but I’d urge you to check the small print in order to make sure your location data is not subsequently shared with anybody else.
There is one thing though – while you usually need to pay for the SIM connection, you will save a few dollars on vehicle insurance.
Do all cars need a vehicle tracker?
I believe we’ll see most cars sold with built-in GPS car tracking systems in future, in part because governments are legislating that new cars be sold with built in SIM cards, which seems to be a steady step toward this becoming something that ships as standard.
It is also important to think about the privacy and security aspects of GPS trackers: Not only do these systems share your location data with servers belonging to the manufacturer, but many also keep records of where you’ve been.
That’s why you need to create ultra-secure account passwords and think about how much information you want to store in the event something goes wrong. After all, such data could be used by you in court to prove your innocence in some driving-related crime – or against you to prove the reverse.
Of course, if you have nothing to hide, you’ll have nothing to fear.
3 good car GPS trackers for iOS
For the purposes of this feature I’ve focused only on GPS car tracking systems that are made available with an accompanying iOS app.
That’s not always a huge problem, some systems such as the Trak 4 GPS tracker don’t provide an app, making their data available online via a log-in account. The decision to limit these to iOS compatible systems has limited the choices available.
The Trackimo system
This c.$200 system consists of a small tracking device and an iOS app.
The solution can alert you when your tracked vehicle moves, captures speed alerts and also lets you know if your vehicle leaves a geofenced area – such as if it moves away from where it should be parked outside your home. There’s also an SOS button, so you can share your vehicle’s (real time) location information with law enforcement if it goes missing.
To achieve this, it uses GPS, GSM, Wi-FI and Bluetooth. Location data is sent via the network to Trackimo’s servers, where you can access it using an app. This data is securely shared and made available in real time, the company said.
The battery lasts up to 30-days. It ships with a SIM card installed and one year’s international service ($5/month after that). It also includes a magnet so you can attach it to your car. Trackimo website. Around $200 on Amazon.
AES RGT90 GPS tracker
Coming in shy of $200 at $179, the AES RGT90 GPS tracker has a 90-day battery life (if you drive for an hour a day). It ships in a case that’s equipped with a powerful magnet, which means you should be able to rely on the device staying on the car while you drive.
You access data from your vehicle using an app, or an online portal at the company website. You can also text the device to receive a link to a (sorry) Google Maps page that shows where your car is. Accurate to 2.5-metres. 20 second updates and pre-loaded with 3-months of free tracking data and costs a fee thereafter. The price? Around $179 on Amazon.
Optimus 2.0 GPS Tracker
While cheap to acquire it is quite expensive to run, costing $19.95/month, but does ship with a SIM card and data plan.
The app lets you create movement alerts, set up geofences and access driving reports, and you can be alerted when events take place. Promised battery life is up to two weeks, but this depends on how many messages the tracker needs to send – though a hardwired version your can hook up to your car for direct power supply is available for just $59.95.
Have you come across other systems that will secure your car? Please let me know – I’d love to add them to this list. Do you make a system and want it looked at? Drop me a line. Interested in other ways iOS can help cut your insurance costs? Take a look…