Apple’s Find My Friends app, despite the creepy name, offers one of the easiest ways to keep tabs on where your friends and family are – so you know where to meet them.
Google actually started this sort of software with Google Latitude, but when they ended it several years ago, Apple filled the gap with Find My Friends (and with this week’s announcement that Find My Friends is accessible via iCloud.com, you don’t even need Mac hardware to use it – just an iTunes account).
Download Find My Friends from the App Store.
Unlike many of Apple’s iPhone apps, Find My Friends doesn’t come preinstalled on every iPhone – you’ll need to snag it from the App Store.
Note: if you don’t want to have to enter your iTunes password every single time you open the Find My Friends app, you’ll need to have at least a four-digit passcode protecting your iPhone. It’s set up this way so that your friends’ locations aren’t seen by anyone that might pick up (or steal) your phone.
Tap ‘Add’ in order to add your friends to the list
By default, Find My Friends will prepopulate a list of possible contacts it thinks you’ll want to share your location with. If your friend is on the list, tap their name and you’re good to go. Otherwise, you can fill in their email address at the top of the screen to send an invitation.
Recent versions of the app also take advantage of AirDrop to let you quickly share locations with people who are in your immediate vicinity.
You can pick which friends have access to your location.
Once someone shares with you, or you share with someone else, you can open the app to check their location on a giant map.
If you decide at a later date that you don’t want them to know where you are, simply tap the contact’s name, and at the bottom of the screen, choose ‘Stop Sharing My Location.’
You can also turn location sharing on and off globally – that is, for all users – by tapping ‘Me’ at the bottom of the app, then toggling the switch for ‘Share My Location.’
You can sign into Find My Friends from multiple iOS devices, and choose which one is the primary device for sharing your location. This setting can be changed at any time if you’re switching devices or moving between home and work, for example.
Set up geofencing alerts to find out when one of your contacts leaves their house or work.
The geofencing feature can be handy for figuring out when one of your contacts leaves or arrives at home, work, school, or some other address. You could figure out when your spouse is leaving work, so you can get dinner ready to go. Parents might use the feature to know when their child gets to school, leaves school, or arrives home – it’ll send an alert to your phone so you don’t need to manually enter the app and check.
To set up a geofence alert, tap on the contact’s entry in your friends list, and at the top of the following screen, select ‘Notify Me.’ From here, you choose to get an alert when they arrive or leave someplace (‘home’ and ‘work’ are usually listed by default, but you can manually enter any address).