When the Fi Collar is in range of your charging base(s) or your cell phone(s), it will use Bluetooth (instead of GPS antenna) to connect to them and send its geo location. As your dog moves around your home or outside, the Fi Collar can jump from one Bluetooth connection to the other, thus saving a ton of battery power (Bluetooth uses hundreds of times less battery than GPS/LTE).
This ability for the Fi collar to jump from different Bluetooth connections (or from Bluetooth to GPS, when necessary) is a technology that is proprietary to the Fi Collar and enables it to reach its incredible multi-month battery life.
Saving the battery of your collar goes beyond the simple convenience of not having to recharge the collar very often. If your dog goes missing, your tracking device will have to use GPS/LTE to report his/her location quickly and accurately - and it is critical that the Fi collar has as much battery power as possible in the event of an escape, so you have as much time as possible to locate and recover your dog. Saving battery when your dog is in range of your cellphone can literally save your dog's life if he gets lost!
Is the Fi Collar tracking me when I’m not with my dog?
Absolutely not. While we have to ask for the location to be shared “Always on” we never track your location but when the Fi Collar is not directly connected to your cell phone and reporting “I’m here”.
The only exception to this is when you’ve activated ‘Lost Dog Mode’. If you lose your dog, and turn on Lost Dog Mode, Fi will have access to your phone’s location in case you need our help to direct you towards your dog.
Then Why does Fi require Location Services “Always On”?
In order to conserve battery life, the Fi Collar needs to be able to connect to your cell phone while running the Fi App in the background, without you having to take the phone out of your pocket and open the Fi App.
To our regret, the only way we can do this is if the location service is authorized to “Always” send the phone’s location - At this time, Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone) do not allow an “only while accessory connected" setting. The app can only connect either when “the app is running” in the foreground, or “always”. This forces us to ask for the “always” permission to allow the Fi Collar to connect with the Fi App in the background.
Fi will never report from the Fi App a phone’s location when it is not directly connected to the Fi Collar and used to report the location of your dog. We hope that Apple and Google introduce a more granular authorization level shortly, so we can request from you the minimal authorization level that we need!