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“Automatic Tracker” vs “On-Demand Tracker”: Which Will Best Fit My Needs?

There are a number of decisions to be made when GPS tracking a loved one. As discussed in previous posts, it often feels the toughest decision to make is whether or not you need a GPS tracker. And now that you need one, the next step is figuring out what kind of GPS tracker will best fit your needs. In terms of other consumer tech, personal GPS tracking is relatively new. But PocketFinder has been delivering tracking solutions since 2005-- we pride ourselves on looking past the buzzwords and being transparent. When it comes to personal tracking, the two types of GPS trackers you will encounter are “Automatic Tracker” and “On-Demand Tracker”. This post will provide a basic breakdown of these two types of trackers to give you a better understanding before purchasing a GPS device for your family. 

So, what is an “Automatic Tracker”? This is a GPS tracker that will locate on its own- meaning you do not have to press a button in an app to make it locate. As long as the device has power, signals, and is registering movement, it will automatically locate per its interval setting. This is the type of tracker PocketFinder provides. As the device moves, it will automatically locate every X minutes (per your settings). If it stops moving, it will go “to sleep” to save battery and stop all tracking. But, once it registers movement, it will “wake up” and go back to its location cycle. 

Because Automatic Trackers locate on their own, PocketFinder provides features like Zones (geo-fencing). This means you can go about your day and be alerted as soon as your device registers out of the zone; allowing you to take immediate action. While PocketFinder is “automatic”, we also provide “on-demand” features. The SOS button on the device will force the device to exit whatever mode it is in and start locating approximately every 15 seconds for 5 minutes, alerting you via text and email. If you need to track before your normal scheduled location cycle, your app and account have an emergency locate button as well. Our personal tracker is essentially the best of both worlds.

“On-Demand” trackers work similarly to their Constant counterpart. With power, signals, and movement, the device will “check in” every X minutes. The difference is, it will not locate on it’s own. Via an app or account, you press a button that requests tracking. Then, within X minutes, the device will track. Some trackers are “true” On-Demand. This means they are “checking in” every minute whether moving or not. This allows them to be truly On-Demand, but use lots of battery power. 

Most On-Demand trackers now allow the customer to adjust the interval. So, you could set it for 3 hours, allowing for more battery life to be saved with the trade off of not being able to see where the device is in between intervals, even if moving. Many of these On-Demand trackers also allow “sleep” modes as well when they stop moving for a period of time. Some newer models also include an SOS button on the device to allow for emergency tracking. 

The benefit of On-Demand trackers is battery life. Because some allow you to set very long intervals, when that combines with it only tracking upon your request, you can save major battery power. But, this comes with the cost of delays in seeing accurate tracking and loss of zone alerts. If your interval is 3 hours, it will take up to 3 hours before your device starts tracking after you request locates. These devices are for those you only need to check up on every now and again.

With over a decade in the GPS business, PocketFinder has found Automatic Trackers benefit our customers the most. While you may not always need to track, you can know that it will be there when you need it. And with Zone alerts, you have that extra layer of protection.

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