How to keep track of friends and family on your iPhone

Illustration of an iPhone showing its lock screen on a pink and blue background.

I fully get why some people might be wary of letting other people see their location constantly, but for me, location sharing tools such as Find My and Google Maps have only had advantages. They mean not having dozens of back-and-forth texts about which bar everyone is currently at, for example, or not needing to text “I’ll be five minutes late” because everyone can see I’m en route. And while tracking the location of older teens probably won’t happen without some intense negotiation, it can be handy to see when younger kids have made it to school or a friend’s house. 

In other words, while you only want to do this with the people in your life you trust the most, you might find you come to rely on it more than you thought you would. And these tools do come with built-in controls for managing what you’re actually sharing and when. 

Here’s how to set it up.

If you use an iPhone, and everyone you want to keep tabs on uses an iPhone, then the obvious option for location sharing is the Find My app in iOS (and iPadOS and macOS). But first, for this to work as intended, you need to have location sharing enabled on your iPhone:

  • From Settings, go to Privacy & Security > Location Services
  • Make sure Location Services is enabled.
  • Tap on Share My Location and enable it.
iPhone screen with Map on top, three icons with faces below, and a button titled Start Sharing Location below that.

iPhone screen with Map on top, three icons with faces below, and a button titled Start Sharing Location below that.

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