How to Track Family and Friends From Your Phone


Location tracking apps let you track anyone’s
phone. That is, if they install the same app you do and give you permission to
see their location. There are lots of apps like these on iOS and Android and
many are 100% free.

An app that tracks someone’s phone can be
handy for many reasons. Maybe you’re a parent and you want to see when your
children get to school, or your spouse travels for a living and it’s important
for you to confirm that they’re safe. Maybe a location tracking app is useful for
you and friends so that you all know where everyone is without having to text
or call.

Clearly, you can use a location tracker for
many reasons. Fortunately, many of the location finding apps on apps stores are
completely free for basic feature. To get additional, special functions, you
might have to pay a monthly fee.


Life360 is the best app for keeping track of
family members. It lets you create places on a map so that when people arrive
and/or leave those areas, you’ll get a notification telling you so. You can
also browse the map freely at any time to see where they are.

This location tracker is one of the best ones
out there not only because you can add lots of people to your location group but
because you can even make additional family circles, each of which that can
include different people. Maybe you want one for friends and another for

Life360 is also very accurate. From my
experience, as long as the person has a good internet connection, you can zoom
in on the map so closely that you can tell which part of a building they’re in
or which house they’re at from a block of other homes.

The free version supports two people and two
place alerts. You can pay to add more family members and places, as well as
additional features like driving reports, hard break notifications, speed
alerts, and emergency help services.

Download Life360 for iOS from iTunes or get it for your Android from Google Play. You can also browse the map from a computer.

Google Maps

Google Maps is a well-known app for finding
directions, and you might know that it can also keep
track of your own location history
. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn
that it also
serves as a phone tracker
. This location tracking app is totally free and
lets you see the people you’re tracking at the same time you’re browsing Google

This app makes our list because it’s super
easy to set up as long as you both have a Google account with the Google Maps
app installed. There aren’t location-based alerts like with Life360 but you can
see the address the person is at, get directions to them, easily see what’s
nearby, and determine how much battery they have left on their phone.

Location tracking on Google Maps is also
something you don’t even think about. Because there aren’t push alerts for when
people arrive or leave a specific area, you’re not bombarded with messages.
Just open the map and browse like normal, but also see where your friends or
family are located.

To use this feature in Google Maps, choose Location sharing from the app’s menu.
You can share your location for a set amount of time, such as an hour, or pick Until you turn this off to enable
location sharing indefinitely.

Google Maps works on iOS and Android devices. You can also visit Google Maps from a computer to see where people are.


Another app made specifically for tracking others while they’re driving. is Glympse. It’s available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, is super easy to use, and has some really great features. You can even connect this app to your car if the in-car GPS supports it.

When you share your location through Glympse,
you pick for how long you want the other person to be able to see your
location. Options include everything from five minutes to 12 hours, and then
you’re given a link to the driving session that you can share anywhere you
like, like over text, email, or even social media. As you’re driving, you can
add 15 minutes with one tap so that the recipient doesn’t lose track of your

Anyone who opens your special link can view
the map and follow you in real time from their own Glympse app or from any web
browser, including a computer’s. They get to see your speed (if you’ve enabled
that option), the path and estimated arrival time to your destination (if
you’ve added a destination), and current traffic information.

Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are another way to keep track
of friends and family, or even people you’ve just met. What’s different about
using a texting app to track people is that it’s more common to enable tracking
for only a short time, something you’ll find useful if you need it for just a
day or even an hour or so.

WhatsApp is one example. Tap the attachment icon next to the text box and then choose Location and then Share live location to pick from 15 minutes, 1 hour, and 8 hours. You can also use WhatsApp to send your current location without updating the other person with your live location.

Facebook’s Messenger app is similar. Select the four-dotted menu off to the left of the texting area, and pick Location from the options. Choose Share Live Location to immediately start sharing your location for one hour. The other person can view your location update as you move and can even get directions to where you are.

Another popular messaging app, Snapchat, has what’s called Snap Map for sharing your location with all or some of your Snapchat friends. Go into your settings and select the map to see your friends’ location. Tap the settings icon on the map to set up sharing yourself so that your friends can find you anytime they view their map.

If you don’t have those apps, the one you’re
currently using might support location sharing. The option is normally easily
accessible near the area where you send texts and images.