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4 free ways to keep track of your friends and family with your smartphone

As GPS trackers become more commonplace with devices like Apple AirTags, we are developing a constant need to know where everything and everyone is at all times. Tap or click here to find out the difference between Tile trackers and Apple AirTags.

When it comes to tracking people, there are many non-nefarious reasons to know where your loved ones are, whether your spouse, children or even your parents.

If you’ve found yourself wanting to track the critical people in your life better, there are many options to help you do it. Here are the four best and free apps to find friends and family.

1. Google Maps

Google Maps is a fantastic option for location tracking, and you can use it on iOS and Android devices for free. The app allows you to share your location or receive someone else’s and choose how long and when you can view it.

This means you can always find someone with Google Maps if their location is shared with you, but you can protect your location as well. What’s the downside? Google is known for data collection. If you use Google Maps to share places or track others, you can be sure Google is collecting data.

Tap or click here to learn more about location sharing on Google Maps.

2. Glympse

Glympse isn’t a household name like Google Maps, but it serves the same purpose. It allows you to share a Glympse of your location with anyone you choose, family, friends or even coworkers. What gives Gylmpse an edge is that those receiving your location don’t need to download the app.

Location-sharing is also temporary, so no one has permanent knowledge of your whereabouts. However, this is also a downside. Using Google Maps, you can keep location sharing for critical people and always be in the loop. The Glympse app is available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

3. Find My iPhone

If you own an iPhone, you probably already know everything you need to know about Find My iPhone. While it’s typically used to find your other Apple gadgets when they fall into the abyss, you can use it to keep track of your family as well.

You can turn on location sharing using the family organizer feature and know where your family is 24/7. If you don’t want someone to have access all the time, you can choose to share your location for just one hour or until the end of the day. Find My iPhone is available for iOS devices for free.

4. Instant message apps

While messaging apps are great at keeping you connected no matter where you are, they are also handy for sharing your location. Both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have location-sharing features.

In the Facebook Messenger app, you can share your location just once or send live updates of where you are. WhatsApp has the same feature and takes it up a notch by letting you share your live location with any of your contacts for a set period, anywhere from 15 minutes to eight hours.

Bonus: Life360

While it’s not free, Life360 offers everything you could want regarding location tracking, and it’s designed with families in mind. You not only see the location of everyone in your family, but you can even receive notifications as they come and go.

This is a handy feature if you have teenagers you want to keep an eye on. If you have new drivers in the home, Life360 can also issue driving reports to tell you if your teens are truly safe behind the wheel.

The downside? The free version doesn’t include everything you’d be looking for, so you’ll have to spring for the Premium version. This will cost you $4.99 a month.

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