Find My Friends on iPhone: A Short Guide
Getting a group of friends to the same location at the same time can sometimes feel like you’re trying to herd cats. From the inherent chaos of a pub crawl, to the mess that can be organizing a sports team get-together, sending a flurry of “Where are you?!” texts used to be your only option.
If you’re an Apple user, then you have one easy to use, in-built option to get around this frustrating issue – Apple’s Find My Friends app. It’s able to share your location with your friends, and vice versa, as well as setting up alerts when your friends arrive or leave specific places. All in all its a handy if not somewhat creepy feature on iPhones.
What Does Find My Friends Do?
Find My Friends is available for free from the Apple App Store, on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It uses the various location-sharing functions on your device to regularly update your position on a map, as well as the positions of the friends and family members you’re connected with. While it works best with a Wi-Fi connection and your device’s GPS being activated, it can manage a fairly accurate position from just a cell signal.
It only shares your position with people you’ve allowed to see it, and you can set it so that people are only able to view your location for a limited period of time. After that, they’ll be removed from the app again. You also won’t be able to see any of your friend’s locations unless they’ve also given you permission to see it.
You can also switch your location off for individual friends, as well as for the app in general, if you have a need to go off grid, like when you’re out buying a present for your partner, or heading to the bar when you’re supposed to be working late.
Managing Your Requests
You can get requests in two different ways: either directly from a friend or contact via the Find My Friends app, or via Email. You can follow up to 100 friends, and the same number is the maximum amount of people that can follow your location at any one time. Manage your requests using the following techniques:
- Open the app up on your Apple device.
- Scroll down and locate the list of friends within the app. You should see the name of the friend trying to follow you.
- If you want to allow them to see your location, tap on “Share.”
- If you don’t want to share your whereabouts with them, then tap on the Cancel button.
If you’ve received a request in an email message, then you’ll need to go to your email inbox on your Apple device that has Find My Friends installed on it. Open the email, and click on the View Request link inside it. This will open Find My Friends on your device, and you’ll be able to accept or decline the request.
Sending a Request
Find My Friends also work the other way around; you can request to see your friends’ locations. To do so, just follow these steps:
- Go to your Find My App and swipe up on the “People” Tab
- At the bottom, locate the “+” option for “Share my Location.”
- Select the friend who’s location you would like to have and share your location with them.
- Click on the person’s name on the “People” Tab. At the bottom, select “Ask to follow location.”
As of the late September 2019, Apple devices running iOS13, iPadOS, or MacOS Catalina or later can now access the newest version of the service, called “Find My.” It should appear on your device if you have the right OS, and combines the services of Find My Friends with Find My iPhone into one convenient package. You can track all of your devices and contacts from the same map, and use it to ensure that all of your Apple devices are in the right place. To set it up on your iPhone, follow these steps:
- Open the “Find My” app on iPhone.
- Click on the “Devices” tab and hit “Enable” if it is not already enabled.
- Add your individual devices.
Find my is incredibly useful for locating your devices, whether you’ve misplaced them or stolen them. It will lead you to within a few feet of your device and allow your to make the device play a loud sound if you’re still having trouble.
I’m Over Here!
Location sharing apps have received a mixed reception since their inception, with people weighing the convenience of being able to quickly locate friends and family against some very real security concerns. Make sure that you’re definitely OK with the person whose request you are accepting knowing where you are all the time. After all, nobody wants a stalker with a technological advantage!