Location tracking can’t always be seen as a shady feature. It might just prove to be the best service when you need to know where’s your kid at. We all would agree to the fact that it does bother us whenever our loved ones are traveling. Now calling and texting is also an option but it doesn’t help when someone is driving or in a meeting for hours miles away from home. For the sole purpose of being helpful, we have compiled a few apps that would let you share and see the location of your family and friends if they choose to share. In this section, we are avoiding native device tracking options like Find my iPhone on iOS and Find my Device on Android.
Best Family Locator Apps
Glympse provides you with information on where family members are in real time. By using Glympse, you can quickly find details on the GPS locations of other family members.
To use this, simply open the Glympse app on your phone, tap for a “New Glympse“; next, you can send a text message or an email to another person. When you do this, you can get information on the network or GPS location that someone is located at. This provides you with real-time details on where someone might be at a given moment.
While there are many applications that provide real-time location sharing (like WhatsApp and Google Maps) what separates Glympse from the rest is that you don’t have to install anything on another person’s mobile device. All they need is a web browser to access the link you share via SMS, email.
- Does not require you to install anything on another person’s mobile device
- It has an optional low power mode which only updates your location if someone is currently watching
- Adjust how information is seen on the program for a certain period
- Does not offer real-time tracking
- You would have to update the location manually
2. Life 360
Life360 is a formidable choice when you want to be updated about your family members safety. Available on both platforms, Life360 lets people check in with each other while online. The check-in feature ensures people can let others know when they have reached certain destinations or when they are getting to particular places. This works with circles that you can program for listing details on where certain clients are located in for use.
What separates Life360 from the Glympse is, you automatically get notifications that someone has left or arrived at a designated place. This means you don’t have to constantly look at their real-time location in the app.
Pro tip: We found Life360 crazy on battery life, one way to fix that is, by setting it up to update interval to every hour instead of the default setting of 15 minutes.
- Easily loads up driving directions and route info
- Allows people to communicate without using text messages on one’s mobile bill
- You can share information on individual people within a circle that you save
- You need to send invitations to all the devices you want to track
- It had mixed reviews on battery usage but your mileage may vary
3. Foursquare Swarm
Foursquare Swarm provides you with a convenient layout where you can keep tabs on where your kids are going. This works with a platform similar to what you would get off of the regular Foursquare social media site. When you check in at a place, you will leave a pin showing where you are. Your family members can do this when they get to different spots of value.
The program has a statistics report system that gives you data on the places people visit more often. You can use this to track the behaviors of other people in your family. The program lists data on the types of locations too.
- Tracks GPS and network information based on check-in spots
- Works with most types of popular locations in mind
- Uses up a large amount of battery power
- Works best for people familiar with Foursquare
4. Sygic Family Locator
This program works a little differently from others. Sygic Family Locator focuses more on where your family members are through GPS-enabled devices. To use the Sygic program, you would activate the GPS signals on any of their devices. After this, you will save information on the devices that link to those GPS signals.
This provides you with regular updates on locations. The program also gives you updates on when they might veer aware of certain boundaries. The map setup lets you configure precise spots where your kids are to avoid being in. This gives you quick alerts when someone happens where a kid moves into an unwanted zone.
You can create safe and unsafe zones while getting alerts on when someone enters the latter. An SOS button also provides you updated data on whereabouts. This does well for tracking kids who might want to veer off into other spaces.
- Offers a full location history of where someone has gone during the day
- Easy to adjust safe and unsafe zones through an included map
- Lets you track many people at the same time
- Only works when the targeted devices have enough battery power
- May not update as quickly in real time
5. Trusted Contacts
Trusted contacts is an app from Google to check the real-time location of your family members and friends. The way it works is pretty standard. After installing the app, you need to select which contacts you trust your location. Once done, your friends will get an email, letting them know that they are now your trusted contact.
Like most family tracker app on this list, you could turn on the tracking feature and send friends a message so they can know where you are. But what separates Trusted Contacts from the rest is the automatic location sharing if the recipient didn’t respond for a fixed period of time. For example, once you add someone a trusted contact. They can ping you for your current location. You have the option to either accept or reject the location request. However, if you don’t respond in 5 minutes then they will have access to your last possible location.
- Also, show the general status of your smartphone battery.
- Like Glympse, your Trusted Contacts don’t have to install any app on their phones, or even a Google account. They can track your location via a browser.
- In order to use the app both parties to enable Google’s Location History
6. Google Maps
Surprised? Well, you should be. Google Maps has an awesome inbuilt location sharing feature. The feature is available on all platforms and even web version.
On the home screen of the Google Maps app click on the menu button (three horizontal bars). Tap the Location Sharing tab and you’ll see a pop-up. Click on the ‘Get Started’ pop-up to select the contact you want to add to your list. The contacts you select will immediately start receiving your location. To be able to see their location you’ll have to request access and the contacts will then approve your request.
The location can be shared for a time duration between 1 hour to 3 days or you can choose to share location indefinitely until you turn it off. The service will let you see more info about the contacts in your list than just location. You’ll be able to see the exact address and can navigate through the directions tab. If there is a lot of clutter on the map, you can choose to hide some contacts which may be added back later. Each person’s shortcut can also be set on the home screen of your device on Android.
- Natively available in most phones
- Shows battery percentages of added devices which is useful in case of kids
- No notification service for arrival and departure for contacts
- Battery Drain
7. Find My Friends (iOS)
Not to be confused with Find my iPhone; Find my Friends is only available inside the Apple walled garden. So, if your friends and family have an iPhone or iPad, Find my friends could be one of the best family tracker app for you. The app can be natively found on all iOS devices and even on Apple Watch. While there is no support for macOS but, this feature could be accessed on the iCloud web. Though do keep in mind, since iCloud isn’t supported in most browsers your only option is Safari browser.
To get started, simply open the ‘Find My Friends’ app tap the Add button on the top right. Select the contacts you want to share location with. Alternatively, you can enter someone’s Apple ID to send a request. Once the contact enables location sharing from their end you’ll be able to see them on the map.
The app also offers a very unique feature of notifying you about a contacts movement. When you tap on a contact to see detailed info of the contact, you’ll see the ‘Notify Me’ tab on the top center. Tap on the tab and you’ll see two options, when a contact leaves a location and when a contact arrives at a location. You can choose to get notified when a contact leaves or arrives at a location by simply pinning the location on the map.
- Native app
- Notification features
- Restricted to Apple Devices
Price: Free (iOS)
Wrapping up: Family Locator Apps