Why does it take so long to find my device?
Yes, we know, sometimes it seems to take a long time for the device's location to be returned. There are a number of reasons this can happen, but at the core, it's all due to one VERY important point - Ping is a locating device, not a tracking device.
A tracking device is always on, always connected to both cell and GPS satellites and regularly reporting in its location. This takes a HUGE amount of battery life and needs a larger antenna to be more accurate all the time.
Ping, on the other hand, is a balance between size, battery life and performance. Ping's battery is very small. To give you any type of battery life we keep as much of the device OFF as possible. The only thing we TRY to keep on, is the cellular connection so it can receive an SMS telling the device to report in. Keeping that cell connection is often very challenging, and again, we balance battery life with performance by not constantly retrying if the device disconnects and only retrying every 5, 10, 15 and sometimes every 30 minutes. We take the philosophy that it's better that the device eventually reports in then has no battery to ever report in, though we are working on giving you more control over this setting.
Anyway, once the device is notified that its location is wanted, we then have to turn on the GPS, connect to satellites (which can take a LONG time from a cold start), get the information or wait for it to timeout if satellites are not available, get the nearest cell towers, connect back to cellular, send that information to our servers, look up the location of the cell towers, then send that info to either Google or Apple to send back to your phone to view. Yeah, it's a lot, and we try to do it as quickly as possible.
This is why Ping should not be viewed as a tracking or lifesaving device ever. It's a locator and best used with things that don't need to provide an immediate location.