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Find My Friends Gains Customizable Geofences

Apple has updated its free Find My Friends iOS app to version 2.1, providing “a new UI to search for and set location-based notifications.” Location-based notifications, which alert you when a friend enters or leaves a particular location, aren’t new, but now you can specify the radius around a location, making the feature more forgiving when locations don’t match addresses perfectly and providing advance warning of arrivals. (Of course, for this to work at all, you must have been given permission to track your friends’ locations, either permanently or on a temporary basis — see “I Get by (and a Lift) with a Little Help from Find My Friends,” 1 February 2012.)

To set a notification location, tap one of your friends in the Find My Friends list, and tap the Notify Me button. You can then specify a location: your friend’s current location, a different position on the map, or a location found by searching in the field at the top. (To change the map position, drag the pin indicating your friend’s current location to the desired spot, remembering that you can pinch to change the zoom level of the map.)

Once you’ve selected a location, note the purple circle that appears around the pin that marks the spot. New in Find My Friends 2.1 is a purple button that you can drag to change the radius of the notification area, with the size of the radius shown. (We presume the units match your country’s preferred measurement units. Unfortunately, it’s not smart enough to switch from feet to miles as the circle grows beyond the point where feet make sense.) After you click the Done button, you’ll be notified when your friend next enters or leaves that circle.

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. Or, you could draw a wide circle around an airport at which you’ve just arrived so you could be notified enough in advance to look for a friend who’s picking you up curbside.


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Comments about Find My Friends Gains Customizable Geofences
(Comments are closed.)

Al Byrne  2013-03-30 16:39
There still appears to be no way to edit the list of previously geofenced locations! I'm tired of scrolling through numerous addresses of once visited supermarkets, etc. Please Apple, we need to be able to edit the list!
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-01 07:53
Al, assuming that I've understood your comment correctly, I think that you can delete unwanted locations like this: In the main Notify Me popover, tap Change Location. Set your location to one that you want to delete. Then, tap Delete. I'm not 100% sure that this will work all the time, because the Search seems a bit mixed up.
Anonymous  2013-04-02 07:00
My version of Find My Friends doesn't quite work as you described. To set the destination point, I have to tap or double tap to drop a pin at the desired location.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-02 07:29
Are you sure you've updated? At least on my iPhone (the iPad isn't at hand at the moment), setting the destination requires dragging the pin. Tapping does nothing and double-tapping zooms the map view.
Anonymous  2013-04-02 12:52
I was wrong. I needed to update FF via iTunes. I assumed that FF would have updated via a wireless push notification. Dragging and dropping the pin is how it works on the new version.
barefootguru  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-04-02 14:44
iOS seems to check for app updates around once a day, and will badge the App Store icon if it finds something. If you open App Store it will also perform a check at that time.
Dave Price  2013-04-03 09:32
Anyone know if it's possible to set more than one notification? For example, I'd like to set up both a LEAVE notification and an ARRIVE notification for my son's apartment. He suffers seizures and sometimes has trouble navigating his way.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-03 14:29
I don't believe so - that's one reason we posited such a feature in our iCloud for Families April Fools article. It would be incredibly useful for parents who need to keep track of children. You might check into the Garmin GTU 10, since it promises to do this.