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Find My Friends allows location sharing with other iPhone users

A new iOS application was unveiled by Apple on Tuesday dubbed "Find My Friends," allowing users of iPhones to quickly and safely share their location with one another.

Apple's Find My Friends app will leverage iCloud, the company's new, free cloud-based service for iOS devices.

The software aims to allow friends and family to easily locate one another using iOS device features like GPS and 3G data. With temporary sharing options and simple privacy controls, Apple believes it will be a strong addition to its iCloud services.

The app extends the functionality of the current Find My iPhone feature, which sends GPS or WiFi-based location data between two devices. Instead of only being able to send location data between two devices registered under one Apple ID, Find My Friends allows users to broadcast to any iOS product.

Apple touted the following features with its new Find My Friends application. Users will be able to:

  • Easily locate friends & family
  • Temporarily share their location
  • Simple privacy controls ensure safety with the feature
  • Parental restrictions give parents control of their chilrdren's actions

The app works in conjunction with Contacts and Maps, helping users kill two birds with one stone. For instance, a user can invite a friend to an event with corresponding route information, negating the need for giving directions.

Friends and Family

Security measures include "temporary sharing" of locations alongside traditional privacy settings, affording users the option of sharing their location with friends for specific blocks of time, ranging from hours to weeks. When the user-defined sharing period is over, all location sharing ends. In addition to temporary sharing, users can turn off broadcasting altogether by activating the in-app "hide from followers" toggle switch.

The app also has a "follow" feature, allowing contacts to send a friend request that initiates location broadcasting. If permission to follow is granted, a contact is able to receive location information until a temporary sharing period is over, or the user manually hides themselves from followers.

Friends and Family

Find My Friends is expected to be included in iOS 5 when it launches on Oct. 12 with the iCloud service.