Find My Friends

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Find My Friends
Find My Friends.png
Find My Friends on the iPad
Find My Friends on the iPad
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseOctober 12, 2011 (2011-10-12)
Stable release
4.0.1[1] / October 17, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-10-17)[1]
Written inSwift
Operating systemiOS 8 and later
PlatformiOS, iPadOS, WatchOS, MacOS
Size5.7 MB
Available inEnglish
TypeLocation aware mobile application


Find My Friends (called "Find Friends" on the SpringBoard) is a mobile phone tracking app and service for iOS devices developed by Apple Inc. The app allows a person approved by the user, who must also have a Apple device, to access the GPS location of the user's Apple mobile device. The app can be used to track children, family, and friends, besides others such as employees, without them being notified that they are being tracked. The app could also track the location of a person as a safety measure.

When a user signs in to iCloud on a device on which the app is installed, the Apple ID is automatically linked to the Find My Friends app.

The Find My Friends app enables a person approved by a user to follow and track them with their iOS device(s).[2] Users can also share their location with the people they choose. According to Apple, there is a maximum of 100 trackers ("friends").[citation needed]

The tracker can also receive notifications when the user leaves or arrives at a new place.[3] Location is determined using GPS in the iOS device when Location Services are turned on. The apps requires that the device's Location Services be turned on for the app. Modified software can allow notifications to appear when a user requests tracker to see where they are[4] or is turned on through the message application. It can also be accepted through Facebook sharing options. The feature can be turned on and off at any time.[5]

Like many iOS applications that use Location Services, parental controls are available. Find My Friends synchronizes with other applications such as Maps and Contacts. The app is supported on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad,[1] Apple Watch, or on on Windows. A friend's location can be viewed in OS X 10.10 as well, by clicking "Details" in the top right corner of the Messages App.

Privacy considerations[edit]

The app raises potential privacy issues arising from the tracking of a user's exact location, without them being notified that they are being tracked. Several safety features allow a user to share their location only with people they choose and turn off the permission at any time. "Friends" can only track users who have accepted their access request. The user can remove them from access at any time or only make the tracking temporary.[6]

Another way to turn the tracking off is to turn Location Services off. This is done by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, selecting the app in the list and selecting the "Never" option. Tracking can be turned back on by selecting the "While Using the App" option.[7] Location services and hence location tracking does not operate when a device is in “Airplane mode”.


Find My Friends was announced on October 4, 2011,[8] and released on October 12, 2011, several hours before the actual release of iOS 5.[9]

Since the release of iOS 9 (in September 2015), the app has been bundled with iOS and installed automatically. Users running on iOS 8 can download the app from the App Store free of charge.


Version Number Date released Changes

October 11, 2011 (2011-10-11)

  • Initial release

March 7, 2012 (2012-03-07)

  • Support for Retina display devices
  • Bug fixes and enhancements

September 19, 2012 (2012-09-19)

  • Location-based alerts (requires iOS 6 or later)
  • Friend Suggestions and Favourites

October 29, 2012 (2012-10-29)

  • Temporary friends are listed as Followers

March 28, 2013 (2013-03-28)

  • New design and layout
  • Location-based notifications (iOS 6.1 or later)

August 22, 2013 (2013-08-22)

  • Bug fixes and stability improvements

November 19, 2013 (2013-11-19)

  • New design for iOS 7 devices

September 17, 2014 (2014-09-17)

  • Support for iOS 8
  • Allows users to move their friends list to their iCloud if needed.

October 16, 2014 (2014-10-16)

  • Bug fixes and stability improvements

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "App Store - Find My Friends". Application Store. Apple Inc.
  2. ^ "iCloud - Find your friends and your missing Apple device". Apple. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "Set up and use Find My Friends". Apple Support. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  4. ^ "How to Know if Your iPhone Is Being Tracked via Find My Friends". Cydia Geeks. January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  5. ^ Previous post Next post (January 4, 2009). "Apple Stealth Launches 'Find My Friends' and 'Airport Utility' Apps". Gadget Lab. Wired. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "Everything You Need to Know About the Evil, Useful Find My Friends App [FAQ]". Cult of Mac. October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  7. ^ Turn Location Services and GPS on or off on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  8. ^ ZL Studios (October 4, 2011). "Apple Announces Find My Friends iOS 5 App « ZL Studios". Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Christian Zibreg. "Find My Friends app goes live ahead of iOS 5 release | 9to5Mac | Apple Intelligence". 9to5Mac. Retrieved October 13, 2011.