How and Why to Set Up Find My Friends on Your iPhone

We already know useful the Find My iPhone tracker is — the savior of stolen phones — but did you know you can do the same for your friends? In 2012, Apple launched Find My Friends on iOS to help people connect better. Basically, this app enables location sharing so you can track you and your friends’ or families’ whereabouts at any time of day.

User reactions were on varying ends of the spectrum. Kids with helicopter parents panicked, wives sighed with relief, and friends with coordination struggles were grateful. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, Find My Friends is a pretty underrated gem with a wealth of uses beyond a stalker’s tool. Of course, Apple recognizes this potential danger and has prepared for it accordingly with customizable restrictions.

It’s easy to turn off the tracking feature any time, and users can even set a time frame when their location can be seen before going off-grid again. Perhaps you’re on your way to a meeting but relying on vague directions. With Find My Friends, you don’t have to keep repeatedly buzzing your pal’s phone on when to take the next right. Or let’s say you and your big group of friends have lost each other at a music festival. The app is the perfect way to meet halfway with everyone.

Most significant of all is that it can literally save your life, just like this climber who got lost after falling down a 60-foot ditch and was found by rescuers through the app. For others, just having someone you trust knowing where you are can make you feel safer. These are just some of the reasons why the app continues to have a place in people’s lives (and phones).

Activating Find My Friends only takes a few steps. Here’s how to do it.

First, you’ll have to download the Find My Friends app from the App Store and make sure the people you’d like to track also have it. For those on iOS 9 and up, it should already be pre-downloaded on your device.

Setting up
1. Enable location sharing by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
2. On the list of apps under Location Services, scroll to Find My Friends and choose the option “While using.”
3. Return to your home screen and open the app.
4. Once there, you’ll notice how some of your contacts may have already been added. If not, you can do so manually by tapping “Add” in the upper right corner.

Sharing your location
1. Now that you have your contacts, you can choose which ones to share your location with by going to their name and tapping send.
2. Choose the timeframe which you want your friend to access your location.
3. You should get a notification confirming that you are now sharing your location with your friend. Hit okay.

Following friends
1. The best part about the app is everything is consensual. Before tracking your friends, you must first send them a follow request by tapping their name, or asking to follow after you add the person.
2. Again, you’ll get a notification confirming the request. Hit okay.

Setting restrictions
1. If you are a parent tracking your kids, be wary of them sharing their location with other people. You can disable changes in the app by going to Settings > General > Restrictions, then tap “Enable Restrictions.”
2. Set a passcode.
3. Jump to “Share My Location,” and hit “Don’t Allow Changes” when you select it.