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T he Find My iPhone app is touted by Apple as the go-to solution to find missing iPhones, iPads, and other devices made by the company. But sometimes, the app is not very accurate and you might be wondering why that is. For instance, you may have tried it out while your phone was sitting on the desk in front of you, only for the app to give you a position a mile away. Or, you might have attempted to locate your daughter who is visiting her grandparents in Indiana but the app showed her location with a mile variance. After experiencing such cases, you might also be wondering why the service can be so accurate when you are standing in the middle of a city centre. In this article, we will attempt to explain all of the reasons why its accuracy can vary so much in different occasions.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Secretly Track Someone's Using Your iPhone [How-To]

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to use find friends in iPhone locate friends and much more

iOS 13 Find My App: How to Track Your iPhone or Friends

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T he Find My iPhone app is touted by Apple as the go-to solution to find missing iPhones, iPads, and other devices made by the company. But sometimes, the app is not very accurate and you might be wondering why that is. For instance, you may have tried it out while your phone was sitting on the desk in front of you, only for the app to give you a position a mile away. Or, you might have attempted to locate your daughter who is visiting her grandparents in Indiana but the app showed her location with a mile variance.

After experiencing such cases, you might also be wondering why the service can be so accurate when you are standing in the middle of a city centre. In this article, we will attempt to explain all of the reasons why its accuracy can vary so much in different occasions. Here is what Apple has to say about that:.

Note: We will only be discussing the iPhone here because the way other iOS devices are tracked e. In essence, a bunch of different tracking technologies are used in order to attempt to pinpoint your location. When these technologies are combined, Find My iPhone can improve its estimation and get accurate results. When they are used alone, they produce widely different results.

We put that to the test in order to find out exactly how the service works for you:. In our tests in an urban environment, where there are plenty of Wi-Fi hotspots around, we found out the most accurate readings. However, as you can see, the results are often approximate. The green dot represents the best possible location fix that the app can calculate and the wider circle around it showcases an area of where the phone might be if it is not located inside the green dot.

In other words, the app attempts to pinpoint an accurate location. When that is not possible, it will attempt to provide an approximate location with a margin of error. That margin of error, however, can be vastly different across different cases. For instance, when Wi-Fi is off and there is no way to access GPS signals, the app might only use nearby cell towers for location tracking, a technique which might give an approximate location circle across miles instead of meters.

Remember: In most cases, Find My iPhone will provide you with an approximate location. Using GPS only to locate a phone would take up too much time. That is the reason why Apple collects and stores a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile phone masts cell towers to locate phones quickly and efficiently.

Essentially, Apple is using Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile towers to locate satellites in order to get quick GPS readings when the phone is located outdoors. Thus, Wi-Fi hotspots and cell phone towers are always used. When there is GPS available, the service will use it too. When it is not, it will only use Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. This is especially true in densely-populated areas where Wi-Fi hotspots are abundant from places like cafes and shopping malls.

They can improve location accuracy in indoor public places such as malls, airports, and shops. In the ideal scenario, Find My iPhone will be the most accurate because it can use a number of different technologies to get an extremely accurate reading.

In the less-than-ideal condition, however, any tracking app that uses GPS may give similar results. It should also be noted that Find My iPhone is one of the only apps that uses crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspots to get approximate location readings. Building a database of Wi-Fi hotspots is a huge undertaking and the only other company to do something similar is Google. When the circumstances are just right, it is safe to say that Find My iPhone is perhaps the most accurate location-tracking app that you will find on iOS.

If you see a simple green dot on the map, that means the location of the phone is tracked extremely accurately. Basically, if you go to that location, you are certain to find your phone. If you see the green dot but there is also another, larger green circle around it, then the location is much less accurate. More specifically, the green circle represents an approximate area of where the phone might be; meaning it can be anywhere inside the green circle but most likely where the green dot is.

As you can see in the example above, sometimes the green circle is so large that it is basically useless. If you lost your phone in the city, for example, that green circle might represent hundreds of different apartments — a less than ideal scenario.

If all you see is a gray dot, then that means the service cannot locate your device for some reason. For example, it might be offline. Another possible reason is that the battery may have died. Finally, you might be located in a country where location services are not offered by Apple.

Well, that depends on a whole lot of things as we saw above. In ideal conditions, they are extremely accurate. However, conditions are not always ideal. Here, we have compiled a list of possible things that might affect the accuracy of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends:.

Another culprit here is line of sight. For example, GPS works better when the phone is directly under the sky as it can access more satellites. Though the signal can definitely travel through solid matter, it definitely weakens or is completely blocked which happens when you are underground. However, being indoors can also be helpful. As seen in our ideal condition above, being inside a small building with iBeacons will make Find My iPhone as accurate as it can possibly be.

It certainly does. In our tests which we demonstrated above , we learnt that Wi-Fi is the single most important factor to consider when using these apps. However, we also learnt that their combination provides the most accurate and fastest readings. What network 2G, 3G, 4G is better for accuracy? Newer networks are faster and often more stable. Each new network is better than the previous one because it can send out data faster. Thus, the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends services can work better by calculating your location faster, especially as you are moving about.

Once again, the short answer is it depends. Technically, the phone model does not really matter as they all use similar technology to locate your phone as we have seen above. Even the GPS sensors are the same.

The only thing that might matter is that older models may not get access to the latest updates which may improve the performance through small background changes.

Can bad weather decrease GPS accuracy? The short answer to this is no, it does not. Space weather conditions, such as solar wind, can indeed affect GPS accuracy but only in rare occasions and then it is usually negligible. Can iPhone cases affect location accuracy? Most cases are fine because they do not provide much of an obstruction. Some types of cases, however, can negatively affect signal receptions.

For example, metal, aluminum, and even carbon fibre cases can decrease signal reception. On top of that, Apple warns that magnetic clips on certain cases can also affect signal. The easiest way to check is to use the phone in the exact same spot with and without the case on and see if it works differently.

Does my carrier have anything to do with Find My iPhone? In most cases, no, it does not. However, your carrier can indeed affect location tracking services. For instance, there is a famous case where several Sprint consumers using Find My iPhone were redirected to a wrong location.

This is because Find my iPhone, in this instance, relied on data from Sprint to address the location. We have seen several things which can affect the accuracy of phone-locating services. Now, we would also like to offer you some suggestions which might help to improve the accuracy of such services. Before doing anything else, you should make sure that your iPhone is set up correctly so that Find My iPhone and Find My Friends can be used without issue.

While you still have your phone, there is no reason for you to touch Location Services. If they are turned off, the location accuracy will be decreased dramatically. So if you ever lose your phone or suspect that it is stolen, go to Find My iPhone on iCloud immediately and turn on the Activation Lock.

These will prevent anyone from disabling Location Services so you can get accurate readings. There are plenty of fantastic cases for iPhones out there that do not obstruct the device too much so if you have to use a case, try one of those.

If you are trying to get a good signal, move towards a window or even better go outside. Any physical obstruction can reduce the accuracy of the service so try to remove obstacles when possible. Your phone needs to have service a signal in order for Find My iPhone to work. As we have seen before, losing the signal such as when you go underground can make it unstable or unavailable. So if you get your phone stolen and wish to locate it, for example, do not report it to your carrier right away.

Do you know anything else that might affect accuracy? Share your story with us in the comments below! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In I was in Poland with a group of photographers, when suddenly one missed her iPhone. Using mine, we tried to locate it and saw it was moving. We tried to come near with a taxi, but then it was in another place again.

Eventually we reported it to the police. They were very helpfull and two officers and I took place in a policecar while tracking the phone. At a national road they stopped the traffic and held a passenger bus where it was likely to be in.

iOS 7: Making Find My Friends useful and less creepy

Do you enjoy stalking your friends and family via Apple's Find My Friends app? If you're a regular user of the "Notify Me" feature, which allows you to receive push alerts when a friend arrives or leaves a location of your choosing, you now have more flexibility to decide on the geographic area you wish to be notified about. In other words, you can now set custom-sized geofences for your most stalkable friends. The main and only highlighted feature is a new UI for location-based notifications, which were first introduced to the app in September of

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According to Apple, you get a useful feature with an awkward title: the new Find My app in iOS 13 presents a simple interface that lets you locate friends, family members, and Apple devices. It splits this information across three tabs with options to play a sound from missing devices, load directions in the Maps app, or set up notifications to go off when your spouse leaves work. And all of this from a single app! Tap the Devices tab at the bottom of the Find My app to see a map of your compatible Apple devices. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see more devices, each with its exact location and distance from you.

What Is “Find My” App in iOS 13? Everything You Need to Know

In the Find My app on your Mac, click People. In the People list, select a name, then click the Info button on the map. Choose whether you want your friend to be notified only once or every time your location changes. Tip: You can choose whether you want to receive location notifications from everyone or from only friends you share your location with—in the People list, select Me, click the Info button on the map, then click Receive Location Updates to choose an option. You can change or turn off a notification you set for a friend, or one that a friend set for you. Click the Info button on the map. Choose whether you want to notify your friend if you arrive at or leave a location. Click Add. Below Notifications, click Add, then choose Notify Me.

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It only takes a minute to sign up. I used Find My iPhone app to track a friend.

The Find My Friends app by Apple allows you to do just what the name implies, find your friends and family. Utilizing your Apple ID, you can quickly send invitations and connect with other iPhone owners to share your location with each other.

When iOS 13 comes out — possibly as soon as this coming week — you might notice a couple of blank spaces on your iPhone or iPad's home screen. That's because Apple has taken two of its apps, Find My iPhone and Find My Friends, and collapsed them into a single app, with the somewhat sensible but also slightly unwieldy name Find My. Fear not, though: pretty much all of the functionality from those apps has made it into their replacement.

How to Use Find My Friends for iPhone and iPad

If you or a friend has that problem of never turning up on time and leaving you waiting, Apple's Find My Friends app may help. In this short report I'll show you how. Find my Friends uses iOS 7's location features. I recognize many people have a problem with these following the Snowden revelations.

It was replaced by the app Find My in The app allowed a person approved by the user, who also had to have an Apple device, to access the GPS location of the user's Apple mobile device. The app could 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. The Find My Friends app enabled a person approved by a user to follow and track them with their iOS device s.

Find My Friends

Every iOS device has location features built-in, which makes it easy for the Apple Find My Friends app to track the people who are important to you and share your location with them. This is terrific for working parents who want to know when their kids get home from school or arrive at sports practice. It's convenient for partners who want to let each other know when they're heading home from work or arriving safely when on a trip. Here's how to set up and use Find My Friends. Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 9 and later. Find My Friends comes pre-installed with iOS 9 and up.

Sep 8, - By default, your notification options cover either the other person's current location or your current location, but you can also add any other place by tapping Add Location and searching. You'll also have the option to choose how large a radius will count as that location, from feet to miles.

Steffen Reich on October 17, With the arrival of iOS 10 and the ability to delete the stock apps some users might find pesky, Find My Friends certainly must be a contender for the title of most frequently trashed app on the Home screen. As teased in the headline, imagine you could use your Find My Friends app to receive a notification when your dinner date is a few blocks away from the restaurant in the city, letting you know it is about time to hit the road yourself.

Set location notifications for friends in Find My on Mac

To set a notification location, tap one of your friends in the Find My Friends list, and tap the Notify Me button. New in Find My Friends 2. Being able to customize the geofence radius like this lets you draw a wide circle around your home to notify you, for instance, when a friend will arrive soon. There still appears to be no way to edit the list of previously geofenced locations!

There are all sorts of uses for this. You can find out which restaurant or pub your friends have decided upon, for example, or see how far from home your partner is so you can start cooking. You can even use the notification options to let people know when you arrive or leave somewhere, or see when they do so.

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Comments: 1
  1. Gukree

    What necessary phrase... super, a brilliant idea

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