Facebook friends near me

Table of Contents

​Here’s how to share location on Facebook

The new live location feature introduced by Facebook lets you share your live location in Messenger.
This is a simple-to-use feature that can let you share with your friends where you are right now. Available both for iOS and Android, you can also use this feature to send pinned location, which means any other location you wish to share.
Sharing location on Facebook lets your contacts and friends discover where you are. Sharing live location lets you coordinate with friends and tell people how far are you from them especially while you are on travels. You can share live location either with a single person or with a group of users.

There are two topics related to sharing location on Facebook: sharing any location and sharing your current location. Here is how you can do them on your iOS and Android.
Sharing a pinned location on Facebook Messenger
It is possible to send any location on Facebook Messenger by pinning it. You can either pin a nearby location you see on the map or you can search for the location you wish to send on the Facebook Messenger.
How to send a pinned location on iOS
To send a pinned location that is near you, follow these steps:
Open a conversation.
Tap the plus sign > Location. If you can’t find this option, tap right arrow and plus sign
In the bottom right, tap on location .
Now you need to drag the map in a way the red pin will be on the location that you will want to send.
Tap on Send Pin Location.
How to search for a location on iOS?
Open a conversation you wish to work with.
Tap on plus sign > location. If you can’t find this option, tap right arrow and plus sign.
In the bottom right, tap on location
Now make use of the search bar you will find above the map to search for the location you wish to share. Once you find the location, tap on right arrow to send it.
How to send a pinned location on Android
To send a pinned location that is near you on Android, follow these steps:
Open a conversation.
Tap plus sign > Location. If you can’t find this option, tap right arrow and plus sign.
In the top right, tap on location.
Now you need to drag the map in a way the red pin will be on the location that you will want to send.
Tap on Send Pin Location.
How to search for a location on Android?
Open a conversation you wish to work with.
Tap on plus sign > location. If you can’t find this option, tap right arrow and plus sign.
Tap location > search option.
Now make use of the search bar on the map to search for the location you wish to share. Once you find the location, tap on send sign to send it.
How to send your current location on Facebook messenger?
Open a conversation you wish to work with.
Tap on plus sign that is found next to the text box. If you can’t find this option, tap right arrow and plus sign.
Tap on Location.
Now tap on Share Live Location.

Whether you’re going to meet a friend, visit your family or headed back home, you may experience travel delays. Yes, as well as you may have planned getting from Point A to Point B you may encounter some unexpected events.

Flights may run late, roads may be snarled with traffic, trains may be delayed or your bicycle may get a flat tire. Whatever the situation, you may want to let people know when to expect you. Or to let them know you arrived home safely.

Instead of giving people constant updates about your arrival time, you can share your location with others. Let them follow your travel progress as you make your way to your destination.

You can use three apps to share your location with others in real-time. They can see where you are on a map and track your location as you move.

You can share your location permanently with others, or you can use these apps to share your location for a limited amount of time.

Three different apps let you share your location with others, and you may already have these apps on your phone.

Google Maps

Last week Google Maps released an update to allow your location to be shared using an iPhone. Previously locations could only be shared by those using Android phones.

Sharing your location using Google Maps is especially handy when sharing is done with people who have Android phones or between iPhone and Android users.

To share your location with someone using Google Maps, open the Google Maps app (be sure to update your app if you’re using an iPhone) and sign in with your Google account.

Tap the menu icon (three stacked lines) in the upper left corner of the screen, then tap Location sharing.

You’ll see a choice of how long you want to share your location. For one hour, or you can adjust the time.

You can also share your location indefinitely, until you turn it off.

To share your location with others using Google Maps, you will need to have Location History turned on in your Google account and allow the Google Maps app to have access to your location always.

Learn more at => How to REALLY Turn Off Google Location History

Google Maps will create a link which you can share with others via text message or email. Your friend(s) will get a notice with a link they can tap to see your location on Google Maps.

The time period you set to share your location will run from the time the link is created.

iPhone Find My Friends

If you and your friend(s) have an iPhone, iPad, Mac computer or iCloud account, you can use Find My Friends to share your location with them. Find My Friends can’t be used with Android phones.

You can use Find My Friends to share your location with others for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely.

A full explanation of how to use Find My Friends, including a link to the Find My Friends app is included in The Wonder of Tech article: Find My Friends: A Cool, Creepy and Life-Saving App.

Facebook Messenger

You can share your location with your Facebook friends using Facebook Messenger. This is best used for your friends on Facebook who use Facebook Messenger. If you’re not Facebook friends with the person with whom you want to share your location using Facebook Messenger, you can either:

  • become Facebook friends with them or
  • choose a different method of sharing your location

Note that you must allow Messenger to track your location always to share your location with others using the app.

To use Facebook Messenger to share your location with others, open the Facebook Messenger app on your phone. Type the name(s) of the friend(s) you want to share your location with.

Tap the + button.

Tap Location.

You’ll see a map of your current location. Tap Share Live Location for 60 minutes at the bottom of the map. Your friend will see a message in Messenger with a map showing your current location.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the time period when you’ll be sharing your location with Facebook Messenger. Sharing is for 60 minutes, not a minute shorter or longer.

You can cancel sharing by tapping Stop Sharing in the message in Messenger.

What Else You Should Know

Share Your Location Using Apps vs. Computer

You can share your location using these three apps, but you can’t use location sharing from your computer. Don’t think about using Google Maps, Find My Friends or Facebook Messenger to share your location from your computer, unless you want to be sorely disappointed.

If you click Location sharing in Google Maps on your computer, you’ll see this notice:

But you can follow someone’s location using your computer. So you can send your location to others by using these three apps, then they can use their computer to see where you are on a map.

That’s good news for your friends who don’t have a smart phone and want to see your location.

App Location Settings

By using these tech tools you are allowing apps to follow your location always. If you don’t need to share your location with your friends always, then you may not need these apps to follow your location always.

Be sure to adjust location settings for apps so that they meet your needs. Having an app always following your location may be an invasion of privacy and a drain on your phone’s battery.

Check out => How to Know Which Apps Are Tracking Your Location

After you’re done sharing your location, adjust the app’s location settings. You can set them back to Always the next time you want to share your location with friends.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever shared your location with your friends? Which of these three apps have you use? Do you find sharing your location with others easier than texting them to keep them updated about your arrival time?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!


Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and connected services.

Facebook is notorious for capturing user data to create profiles that advertisers can target – and that includes the location data from your phone. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can stop the Facebook mobile app from tracking your location completely, or allow it to do so only when you’re using the app.

The company has rolled out new location control for Android app users, and it’s sending an alert to users – both on iOS and Android – to check their location settings for the app.

Here’s how you can change your location permission:

On iOS

  • Launch the Facebook app on your phone, and then go to Settings and Privacy and tap on Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Privacy section and tap on the Location option.
  • Click on Location and select your preferred setting as shown in the screenshot; I prefer minimal tracking on my phone, so I went with ‘Don’t allow.’ Alternatively, you can set this to access your location ‘Only while using the app.’

Facebook’s location setting on iOS app

  • You can also see and turn off Location History through a toggle as shown below, so that Facebook doesn’t keep a record of places you’ve visited.

On Android

  • Launch the Facebook app on your phone, and then go to Settings and Privacy and tap on Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Privacy section and tap on the Location option.
  • Tap on Location Services to turn on or turn off location tracking.

Facebook location settings Android

  • The Background Location option allows you to choose whether you want to allow Facebook to track your location even when you’re not using the app.

Given Facebook’s recent mishaps with user data, we’d recommend turning off location services completely. However, if you use services like Nearby Friends, it’s a good idea to restrict the location access to only when you’re using the app.

Check out all our Basics articles here.

Today Facebook begins rolling out a new opt-in feature called Nearby Friends. It lets friends see approximately how far away you are from them, and you can share your exact, on-going location with them for a limited time. While it’s sure to stir privacy concerns, Nearby Friends could get people spending more time with friends in the real-world instead of online as it hits iOS and Android in the US in the coming weeks.

Below is a deep analysis of how Nearby Friends works, how it was built, its privacy implications, how it impacts the competitive landscape, and its long-term opportunities for Facebook. But here’s the tl;dr version:

Nearby Friends was built by the Glancee location sharing app team led by Andrea Vaccari that Facebook acquired in 2012. It adds a list of nearby friends to Facebook’s iOS and Android apps. It will also send notifications if you come within a short distance of a friend, and if someone shares their precise location with you you’ll see it on a map.

Vaccari tells me “the idea is to make it really easy to discover when someone is around you, and meet up and spend time together.” It wants to facilitate those serendipitous meetups where you run into a friend and end up having a meal or hanging out together. It’s a meatspace manifestation of Facebook’s mission to connect people, and a rebuttal to criticism that Facebook isolates us.

The feature could spell trouble for other location sharing apps like Foursquare and Google Latitude that haven’t reached ubiquity, as Facebook has built it into its core iOS and Android apps that have enormous userbases. It could also challenge the friend-gathering features of Highlight, Banjo, Sonar, Connect, and more startups. Leaving Nearby Friends on will cause some battery drain, but not as bad as some other location apps, according to Facebook.

As for privacy, Nearby Friends is opt-in so you can ignore it and never have to use it if you don’t want to. It’s only available to people over 18. It uses a reciprocal privacy model so you can only see your proximity to friends if you both have it turned on, and you can only see someone’s exact location if they purposefully share it with you. While you can select the specific list or group of friends you want to share your proximity with, many people may simply keep this visible to all their friends — a very wide net. This and how easy it is to forget to turn off Nearby Friends could lead to inadvertent “oversharing”.

If people manage their privacy with the provided tools, Nearby Friends could help them gather with more friends for Tuesday dinners, Friday night parties, or Saturdays in the park.

How Nearby Friends Works

Once you get the rollout of Nearby Friends, you’ll see it in their app list in the Facebook navigation menu under “More” on iOS or Android. From there you can opt in to turning Nearby Friends on, and select if you want to share your proximity with all your friends, or a specific friend list or group.

You’ll then be able to see a Nearby Friends list that shows the distance away in increments of a mile (<0.5 miles, 0.7 miles, 1.8 miles) from anyone you’re sharing your proximity with who has also opted in and turned on Nearby Friends. The list also shows timestamps of when someone’s location was last queried,and if you’re in a big city it will also show their neighborhood.

Next to these friends’ names is a location icon you can tap to send that person your real-time location. You’ll get a chance to choose how long to share your location (an hour, a few hours, until tomorrow, until I manually stop) and include a 40-character message about what you’re doing or want to do, and perhaps a request that they send you their exact location. Otherwise you could send someone a Facebook message asking for them to send you their location. Anyone who shares their exact coordinates with you will show up on a map view.

What makes Facebook Nearby Friends different than competitors and could give it an advantage is that it’s centered around broadcasting proximity, not location. We’re much more willing to share how close to someone we are than where we are on a map, and it’s basically just as functional. If someone’s close, you’ll know, and can ping them about their precise location and meeting up. Broadcasting location is creepy so we’re less likely to share it, and can cause awkward drop-ins where someone tries to come see you when you didn’t want them to. The product only works if lots of people are using it, and the focus on proximity makes it private enough that they might.

Here’s a short video from Facebook showing how Nearby Friends works:

To get your location, Facebook will frequently pull your GPS coordinates. To minimize battery drain, it will read your accelerometer and not pull location as often if you’re staying still. Facebook’s testing says Nearby Friends 0.3% to 0.4% per hour. This is less than the 0.7% per hour Foursquare previously said it drains, and Facebook think it’s more efficient than Google Latitude, though the big G hasn’t released any specific battery stats. Vaccari tells me “Battery saving was one of the core principles as we were developing the product.”

If you don’t have Nearby Friends turned on, Facebook may try to coax you into opting in by showing teaser News Feed stories that read something like “3 of your friends are nearby right now, turn on Nearby Friends to see who and how close they are”. If you do have it turned on, you’ll see Feed stories that are basically excerpts of your Nearby Friends list.

If you have Nearby Friends turned on, Facebook will also occasionally send you notifications that a friend who has opted in is close. It intelligently looks at where that person goes frequently so as not to ping you everytime they get to work if you live a block away, and it reads their location and accelerometer to make sure they are just driving by but are actually stopped and potentially available to hang out.

Some frequent use cases for Nearby Friends include: “Which friends are in the park too?” “Is anyone else at this concert?” “Who’s nearby I could get coffee with?” “I’m in a new city, which of my friends are in this neighborhood?” But there’s also more niche possibilities. You could turn on persistent exact location sharing with your family for security when you travel. When you fly into an airport, you could see if friends are there too that you could split a ride with.

Facebook has recently been highlighting its new focus on standalone apps with its new Creative Labs initiative and the launch of Paper. But Nearby Friends is built into Facebook’s core apps because Vaccari says it only works “if you have a lot of people in the system. A standalone app would have given us the opportunity to make bigger decisions…but doing it in the main app, we guarantee you find most of your friends there.” However, Vaccari said it still could become its own app in the future. For now, Nearby Friends’ success may depend on just how much Facebook is willing to promote the product in the feed. It’s currently buried in the navigation menu next to Nearby Places, the Yelp-competitor Facebook launched last year that everyone forgot about.

Vacarri admitted he was a bit nervous in our interview as he’d been working on Nearby Friends for two years. Glancee had tried to make a social discovery app for making new friends, but realized “before meeting new people it was important to connect with people you already know, including people who aren’t your closest friends.” When Facebook came knocking, he saw the opportunity to use the existing social graph to build a product that let people actually connect in person. He hopes people will use Nearby Friends to spend time with their best buddies, but also people they like but aren’t close enough to text message.

Business Potential?

Facebook says that right now, Nearby Friends won’t be used for ad targeting. But there’s no denying how valuable location data could be to the social network. Imagine if the ads you saw in your News Feed were for restaurants or shops a block away. Those would surely be more relevant to users and more effective for businesses.

Is It Privacy Safe?

For being a feature that constantly shares your proximity to friends or your exact location, Facebook tried to make it respect our privacy. It’s opt-in, so no one will find it themselves sharing their coordinates without purposefully turning it on. You can turn it off any time with a few taps. You can set who sees your proximity, they have to be sharing their proximity with you to see yours, you have to explicitly share exact location, and unless you set it to share indefinitely, your exact location will disappear within a day.

When I asked Vaccari bluntly if the feature has strong enough privacy, he said “Yes, we think so. The way the product is built is safe by default. Location is not precise by default. We want you you to know there’s an opportunity to meet, not where are.”

But just because Facebook built it with safety options doesn’t mean people will use them.

People should create a list of their close friends they’re comfortable sharing their proximity with and select that as the privacy setting. Most people won’t, though, and will just share with all their friends. That will includes bosses, co-workers, family memebers, and random people they met once but accepted a friend request from.

People will forget to turn it off. They’ll share their exact location indefinitely with plans to turn it off after a vacation together, but won’t remember to.

Luckily, since the app is based around proximity, the worst case scenario might be that your boss sees you’re somewhere close to a bar district at 2am or not near your apartment. Or a spouse sees you’re not getting closer to home after work — maybe because you’re getting a beer with buddies, but maybe because you’re…Which brings up the issue of partners essentially stalking each other by forcing one anothe to constantly share their exact location. Vaccari says there are plenty of niche apps that can do this. But it’s certainly a lot easier when someone already has Facebook installed.

Nearby Friends will be a test of our own ability to protect ourselves. Facebook has equipped us with all the necessary privacy options and set respectful defaults. Wielded skillfully, Nearby Friends could unlock real-world interactions in the way Foursquare and all the other check-in products were supposed to. More than money, power, or success, I truly believe spending time with people you love is the best route to happiness. We have plenty of tools for sharing and consuming memories. Finally Facebook has built a feature that will help us create them.

In December, Facebook announced yet another tweak to the News Feed. This time, the social network would begin prioritizing “meaningful” conversations between friends and family over stories from publishers, brands, and businesses. If this all sounds familiar to you, that’s because Facebook has made a number of similar changes in the past.

I was skeptical about the latest shift. Over the last decade, my News Feed has increasingly begun to clog with life updates from hundreds of people I haven’t seen in years. Meanwhile, my closest friends—like many people’s—share less on the platform than ever. After Facebook’s announcement, I deleted the app from my phone, less in protest than in resignation to it having become more of a phone book than a social network.

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Going nuclear seemed hasty though, especially given the thousands of hours I’d invested in Facebook over the years. It also occurred to me that the social network—more so than platforms like Instagram and Twitter—gives its users significant control over what they see in the News Feed, including several levers I’d never bothered to pull. So rather than quit outright, I decided to conduct an experiment.

Over the course of about 10 days, I used Facebook’s built-in features—as well as several third-party tools—to see if I could make the platform fun and “meaningful” again. Some of it worked, but a lot of it didn’t. Mostly it was a reminder that you have more power over your News Feed than Facebook often lets on—for better or worse.

Phase One: See First

My first change was to prioritize pages and profiles to “see first” in my feed. When you click News Feed on the left-hand side of the Facebook desktop site, an option to Edit Preferences* will display. The first option is Prioritize who to see first. I chose a handful of news sites I like reading, some of my close friends, and my boyfriend. Facebook only allows users to choose 30 people and pages to see first; I quickly used all the allocated spots.

The more years I spend on Facebook, the less inclined I am to post weird memes, inside jokes, and any actual feelings.

To some degree, that one change did help my News Feed become more relevant. After I set those preferences, Facebook would usually greet me with a post from my past via the fairly creepy “On This Day” feature, then an ad, then a smattering of posts from The New York Times and other publications I chose. I still didn’t see much from my close friends because, well, they don’t often post on Facebook, a major reason my News Feed felt so irrelevant to begin with.

The more years I spend on Facebook, the less inclined I am to post weird memes, inside jokes, and any actual feelings. Same with my friends. That’s because the breadth of people who might see that content has become wider. If I post a political opinion, it’s possible my aunt, my boyfriend’s cousin, and an awkward years-ago Tinder date will see it. Facebook lets users tailor who can see the content they post, but adjusting those settings feels tedious when I can just head to more intimate places like Instagram or Snapchat instead.

A recent report from The Information suggests I’m not alone. Overall sharing on Facebook fell 5.5 percent from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, according to their analysis. That might seem like a small drop, but people shared four times fewer “personal updates”—like thoughts about their lives—during the same period.

But the news organizations I chose to “see first” are posting plenty. At the point, my News Feed led now off with noticeably more articles and videos from publishers I actually like, which wasn’t so bad, especially since a side effect of the latest algorithm upheaval was burying them further down.

Phase Two: Tell Them What You Want

I decided next to focus my efforts on the algorithm itself: I began giving Facebook feedback on nearly everything it showed me. It’s possible to try and brute force your News Feed by, say, liking every single thing you see. But I wanted to see if I could instead tweak it into something more agreeable.

Arg! Facebook just got rid of a really convenient way to search for friends

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and release of a disturbing Facebook memo, Facebook has been under pressure to make some big changes when it comes to user privacy. Amid the controversy surrounding the #DeleteFacebook trend, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to do better in the future. In fact, some changes are already underway: Facebook just got rid of a convenient way to search for friends.

The social media giant is overhauling their user privacy policies, and one of the things they’ll be doing is changing how they handle user data. That’s where the friend search feature comes in. In an attempt to improve their privacy policy, Facebook has removed the ability to find other Facebook users by searching for their phone number.

In the past, Facebook users were able to look up other users with their phone number instead of their name.

It was a feature a lot of people found super helpful because it cut down on search results, especially if the name was a common one that a lot of people have (as Tech Radar pointed out, that search feature made up “7% of all searches in Bangladesh,” a country where many people share the same name).

It’s easy to feel frustrated about the loss of this feature: it was simple and effective, and it’s definitely disappointing to see it go. But the company has some legitimate reasons for making this change. In a blog post, Facebook explained that “malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery.” The company went on to say that this feature has probably had some pretty negative effects we haven’t even realized:

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”

Many are furious at this admission that Facebook’s popular search feature has led to user profiles being scraped without anyone’s knowledge:

Are you considering deleting Facebook after news came out your phone number/email was likely scraped over the last few years if you gave access in the search settings function (according to Mark Zuckerberg) Let us know @News12NJ

— Jim Murdoch News12NJ (@ReporterJim) April 5, 2018

Buried in Facebook’s latest statement it says it is turning off the ability to search for people using phone numbers and emails…
… because “most” of its two billion users have had their profiles scraped by “malicious” actors https://t.co/oWj8uqds80 pic.twitter.com/dMg5i32LC2

— Matt Burgess (@mattburgess1) April 4, 2018 false

Others have pointed out that when making a public profile on Facebook and giving them your number, you open yourself up to this kind of thing:

false false

This isn’t the only change the company is making. Facebook is also going to limit the data available to third-party apps by tightening up the review process for apps that request access to your photos and posts. Apps will no longer be able to request access to data like marital status, religious views, education, and work history. Facebook will also delete logs of call and text history that are older than one year.

As frustrating as it is to not be able to use that Facebook search feature anymore, it may be for the greater good (even if we hate to admit it). After all, would you rather be able to find someone really quickly online, or have your privacy be kept intact? Yeah…it seems to be a necessary evil.

  • By Jessica Booth

How to Hide your Location on Facebook

  • 16th May 2013
  • Facebook, tips on Social Media

How to Hide your Location on Facebook

You`ve rung in sick this morning and don`t want your boss to know that you`re down the pub or at Newmarket Races so how do you stop Facebook from dropping you in it?

Facebook Check-Ins have their benefits for businesses and sometimes I think they are just there for vanity purposes too, you want everyone to know that you are in that posh new restaurant or have just booked into that 5 Star hotel don`t you? Or is it a case of while everyone else is at work and you`re on holiday let`s just rub their noses in it?

Unfortunately Facebook`s neat little feature can have its downside too because without knowing it your location can simply find its way into your private messages, status updates and comments. You may not see the problem with this but if you do and don`t want everyone to know where you are every minute of the day what can you do about it?

Well if you didn`t already know it Facebook actually allows you to choose whether you show your location or not and of course when to hide it…”so how do I hide my location?” I hear you ask.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Hiding Your Location on Facebook

Obviously it will be slightly different for each device so here is my low-down on how to hide your whereabouts on Facebook…

On your Desktop or Laptop

  1. After opening your browser log-in to your Facebook account.
  2. Type your status update as you normally would
  3. Click the “Check-In” button with your location on it which is located bottom left below your status
  4. Click the “X” to remove your location from that particular post or update
  5. It will now say “Where are you?”, just leave it blank and continue to post your update

Using the Mobile Facebook App

  1. Click on the “Status” button
  2. Type in your status update as you normally would
  3. You will see that your location will automatically appear if you have `Location Services` activated on your mobile
  4. Click, or tap, on the “Check-In” icon below your status (the one in the shape of a hot-air balloon)
  5. You will now see a map appear with suggestions for your location in that area.
  6. Tap on the “X” next to your location right at the bottom of your screen and this will remove any location from your status update

Private Messages in Facebook Apps

  1. Go to your Inbox in your “Messages” on your Facebook App
  2. Enter your text as you normally would ready to send the message
  3. Now tap the little arrow situated to the right of your text box, it will either be blue or grey
  4. To turn your location off this arrow needs to be grey, so tap it until it turns from blue to grey
  5. Your location is now turned off

I hope that helps?

So feel free to ring in sick in the morning and enjoy a crafty couple down the pub! (Not that I am condoning that sort of behaviour in any way!)

Until next time, be good


Martin offers effective social media training, 1-2-1 consultancy and strategies to help your business to benefit from the power of social media.

You can follow Martin on Google+, Twitter and Facebook

One of Facebook’s many features is that you can “check in” from your current location, letting your friends and family know where you are or where you’ve been. You can also use Facebook to let your friends know where you are right now using the Nearby Friends feature.

If you take a moment to consider what this means, you’ll understand that it means Facebook is keeping tabs on your every movement. As The Wall Street Journal recently uncovered, this data is being used for more than just helping you get in touch with your friends.

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your every move with a bunch of advertisers, you can protect your privacy and disable location tracking.

  • How to disable location tracking in Facebook on iPhone and iPad
  • How to stop Facebook from saving your location history
  • How to delete your location history from Facebook on iPhone and iPad
  • How to stop sharing your location with nearby friends in Facebook on iPhone and iPad

How to disable location tracking in Facebook on iPhone and iPad

If you want to burn the entire Facebook location tracking ability to the ground. The easiest way to stop it is to disable location tracking for the Facebook app.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap on Location Services.

  4. Tap on Facebook.
  5. Tap on Never.

Facebook will not have any location tracking access, not for storing your location history while you use the app, not to let friends nearby know where you are. It’s total darkness as far as location tracking is concerned.

How to stop Facebook from saving your location history

Maybe you like the check-in and Friends Nearby features of Facebook and don’t mind sharing some of your location data with the company in exchange for those features. You can leave location tracking on (or set it to Only While Using the App) and turn off the history saving part. This is where data miners tend to get the most useful information from you.

  1. Open the Facebook app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the More tab in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and tap Settings.

  4. Tap Account Settings.
  5. Tap Location.
  6. Turn off the Location History switch.

How to delete your location history from Facebook on iPhone and iPad

If Location History has ever been enabled on your iPhone, that history is stored with Facebook. You can delete your location history so that it’s no longer stored with Facebook.

  1. Open the Facebook app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the More tab in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and tap Settings.
  4. Tap Activity Log.
  5. Tap Filter.
  6. Tap Location History.
  7. Tap Clear Location History.
  8. Tap Confirm.

This deletes all of your stored location histories. If you choose to keep location tracking on in any capacity, you’ll probably want to do this purge every once in a while.

How to stop sharing your location with nearby friends in Facebook on iPhone and iPad

If you like the check-in feature of Facebook’s location tracking, but don’t really want your friends to know that you’re nearby, you can turn off just this feature, while still allowing Facebook to track your location (and store it if you don’t want to disable Location History).

  1. Open the Facebook app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the More tab in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and tap Settings.

  4. Tap Account Settings.
  5. Tap Location.

  6. Tap Nearby Friends.
  7. Turn off the Nearby Friends switch.

Any location tracking questions?

Do you have any questions about Facebook’s location tracking features and how to disable them? Let me know and I’ll do some research.

Once again, warnings are being given that internet users may not realise just how much personal information they are sharing with others online – and this time it’s about where you spend your life working, playing and sleeping.

A newly-released tool lets you easily track the movements of other Facebook users and plot them on a map, by scooping up the location data they have shared in Facebook Messenger chats.

Marauder’s Map is named after a magical chart from the Harry Potter novels that shows the location of every person in the grounds of Hogwarts School.

But the new Marauder’s Map is real, not fictional.

Initially released by Harvard College computer science student Aran Khanna as a Chrome browser extension, Marauder’s Map makes it child’s play for anybody to become a stalker – finding out a contact’s place of work, where they live, or favourite bars and hang-outs.

Marauder’s Map scrapes the location data from your Facebook Messenger page, and plots it on a map.

In a blog post, Khanna describes Marauder’s Map as having “creepy potential”:

“The first thing I noticed when I started to write my code was that the latitude and longitude coordinates of the message locations have more than 5 decimal places of precision, making it possible to pinpoint the sender’s location to less than a meter.”

In one example, Khanna describes how he was able to use Marauder’s Map to determine where a casual acquaintance slept at night:

“I am in a pretty active group chat with some of my brother’s friends (who I am friends with on Facebook but don’t know too well). They are all fairly active on the chat, posting once a day or more.”

“Let’s pick on the one who goes to Stanford. By simply looking at the cluster of messages sent late at night you can tell exactly where his dorm is, and in fact approximately where his room is located in that dorm.”

Deeper analysis of data collected in this way begins to draw up a clear picture of people’s schedule: where they work, where they drink coffee, where they go the gym, where they sleep…

You may not have even realised that your friends’ location information was being shared in the conversations you had via Facebook Messenger, as there is no visual sign.

It’s only when you click on their speech bubble that you discover that embedded into the chat is location data, which reveals where the sender was with creepy accuracy.

One issue is that you may think it’s harmless to attach your location to a single message, but – unless you remember to disable location sharing afterwards – it’s all too easy for an archive of your past locations to build up.

And, as far as I can tell, there is no way to delete the location data from past messages you have sent.

Such creepy collection and examination of location data has clear implications for not just consumers, but also businesses.

If your company is being targeted by criminals, they may attempt to learn the schedules of your workers – hoping to launch man-in-the-middle attacks over unsecured WiFi in coffee shops, or determine the home addresses of senior executives. All they would need to do to begin to collect the data is start an online chat with you, perhaps posing as a potential customer or romantic interest.

The potential for abuse, whether it be by organised criminal gangs targeting an enterprise, or jealous former partners and obsessive stalkers, should be clear. Which means that consumers and businesses alike should consider disabling Facebook Messenger’s ability to track and share your location.

How to disable location sharing on Facebook Messenger
Although it’s possible to manually deselect location sharing on individual messages, it’s clearly all too easy to forget to do that and Facebook’s own help page admits that turning off location sharing only works for the current message, and will be re-enabled when you start a fresh chat.

Therefore, my advice would be to stop Facebook Messenger from accessing your location entirely.

Instructions for iPhone/iPad users:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, where you find a list of all of your location-aware apps.
  2. Scroll to “Facebook Messenger”, and ensure that its location services are set to “Never”.
  3. While you’re at it, review what other iOS apps you’re allowing to access your location data. If you are uncomfortable with why an app would need your location information, disable the feature. Note that it’s probably a good idea *not* to disable location tracking for “Find my iPhone” (if you have it enabled) as you might err.. find it hard to find your iPhone!

Instructions for Android users:

Although there have been reports that Google will introduce greater app-specific granularity to its privacy controls in the future, at the moment location privacy settings in the operating system are very much an “on or off” affair.

So, you need to place your trust in the apps themselves, and use their options when it comes to location sharing:

  1. Open the Facebook Messenger app
  2. Click the settings icon (shaped like a gear) in the upper-right corner.
  3. Scroll to “New messages include your location by default” and uncheck it.

The release of Marauder’s Map as a Chrome extension certainly caused a stir, and saw many people embracing the easy way in which they could keep track on their Facebook Messenger contacts.

At the time of writing the Chrome extension no longer works properly – its popularity means that it quickly smashed through the API calls limit that its mapping service provided – but programmer Aran Khanna has made the code available on Github for more technically-minded users to roll their own version.

Khanna, who starts working as an intern at Facebook next month, says that the company is working on fixing the issue – although no details have been provided yet as to how it will do this or a timescale as to when.

My advice? Don’t wait. Check that the phones you own, or the ones you’re responsible for protecting in your business, aren’t sharing any information which they don’t need to – which includes, of course, their location.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this and other guest author articles are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.

A few days ago I shared how your iPhone keeps tabs on where you are. Well, Facebook does too. “Nearby Friends” on Facebook mobile lets friends know that you’re nearby. If you have the Facebook app on your phone (iPhone or Android) you have this feature available. Nearby Friends is an opt-in feature; meaning, it is OFF unless you turn the feature ON.

Let’s take a closer look at Nearby Friends, including what it might mean for teens.

How Nearby Friends works on the Facebook mobile app

Nearby friends is found within the FB app on the “More” tab at the bottom. Click the “more” tab and then you’ll see Nearby Friends. If turned off, you’ll be prompted to turn it on.

Once on, you’ll see a list of Nearby Friends – those on your Facebook friends list who have ALSO decided to turn on this feature. (This means you won’t see all your friends listed here).

(Faces blurred because they don’t want to admit they know me ;-))

Click the settings icon in the upper right (as in the screenshot above). This is where you can choose who can see your location. For example if you have set up lists in Facebook, you can choose to share your location with just that particular list, such as Close Friends. The default is “Friends” as shown on the left; just select and then choose from your available lists.

You can also share your precise location with a friend, if you wish. For example you might see that a friend is nearby and you want to meet up with them. Click the arrow icon next to their name and then choose how long they can see your every move.

This video from Tech Crunch shows exactly how this works.

How to turn off Nearby Friends in Facebook

If you’ve used Nearby Friends and decided it’s not for you, just turn the feature off. Follow the same steps (More tab > Nearby Friends > Settings) and then slide the slider to the left until the slider is no longer green.

The tiny text on the screen lets you know that even though you have turned off Nearby Friends, the app is still building a “history of your precise location even when you’re not using the app”. If you feel this is a bit intrusive, take a look at the Location Settings.

On the Location Settings screen, slide the slider to the left to turn off Location History. This doesn’t delete your previously saved history; that is still lurking around on your Activity Log. While you are the only who can see this log (it is not shared with friends) you can remove your history if you prefer.

To get to the history log, click the “More” tab again, scroll all the way down and find Activity Log. Choose the Filter at the top, and select Location History (It’s near the bottom of the list). Once selected, you’ll have a filtered view of your activity that only shows location history. Select “Clear Location History” (shown here).

Learn more about Facebook Nearby friends on the Facebook help page.

Teens and Nearby Friends

For those with teens who are active on Facebook, this would be a great time to review their Friends lists. Teens are more likely to have a large number of Facebook friends. Their friends list is probably more of a “random acquaintance” list. They could be sharing their whereabouts with hundreds of people. Unless they are selective when adding friends they might be making their general location known to more people than you’d like (or they even realize).

Again, this is an opt-in feature, so talk with your teen about whether they should use this feature if they have Facebook on their phone. If they do, perhaps limiting the sharing to “Close Friends” would be a wise approach.

So what do you think? Does this feature sound like a good idea? If you think you might find this useful, like the young hipsters in the TechCrunch video meeting up for coffee, you may want to turn this feature on. I only see value if most of your friends use Facebook on the go and also turn this feature on. If you are concerned about privacy and sharing your location data with others – even if they are your friends – or you don’t think you’ll ever use it, then leave it off.

Facebook is rolling out a new section on mobile called “Discover People,” which encourages users to introduce themselves by updating their profile, then scroll through a list of upcoming events to see who else may also be going, as well as browse through lists of people in their city or who share the same employer. The feature, designed to facilitate connections between people who aren’t already Facebook friends, could be used for business networking or even dating purposes, given its design.

The company confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is just starting to roll out to users on iOS and Android, but has not reached 100% of the user base at this time.

“Discover People,” if available to you, is found in the navigation section below Friends, Events, Groups, Nearby Places, and other options. Facebook commonly adds and removes new features here as means of testing user engagement and interest. For example, this is where you’ll find more recent additions, like Offers, Find Wi-Fi, and Send or Receive Money, to name a few.

When you tap into the new section, the header at the top asks you to introduce yourself. This involves Facebook guiding your through your current profile to update its various sections. Here, you’re prompted to update your bio and add featured photos to your profile. However, you’re not able to customize an introduction that’s meant to be seen only by those in the “Discover People” section.

Below this, is a list of upcoming events where you’ve registered your interest, have been invited, or plan to attend. These are designated as “People going to…” followed by the name of the event. When you tap into one of these events, instead of being shown the event details, you’re presented with the profiles of the people going, which you swipe through one-by-one. You can also scroll through your past events further down.

And, at the very bottom of the screen, there are ways to browse through people living in your town or through a list of people who work at your company.

None of the sections will show you the profiles of those you’ve already friended on Facebook, as the feature is designed to facilitate making new connections. Facebook says only public information is shown on the profiles that display here.

There’s a bit of a stalker-ish feel to some of this, given that you’re swiping through the profiles of strangers, in many cases, as many Facebook events are open to the public.

However, the feature would work well for business networking purposes. Or, perhaps, even dating, as it would allow someone to find your profile then tap to message you. The icebreaker, of course, is already available – you’re both going to the same event, after all.

That being said, not everyone will feel comfortable with their profile being used in this way.

It’s already troubling to some that marking yourself as “interested” in a public event is also public post. For a network that has rolled out so many granular privacy settings over the years, not allowing people to control who can see this information is something of an oversight – and a potentially dangerous one for those who may have real-life (not just virtual) stalkers, like women who have fled domestic violence situations.

The new feature is also interesting because is shows that Facebook is thinking about how it can better connect nearby people who share the same interests. The company is often thinking of new ways to bring people together. Years ago it launched “Friends Nearby,” but finally backed away from exact location sharing this December, due to users’ privacy concerns. It also now has a massively popular Groups feature. Along with Events, these can help foster new friendships.

While not explicitly stepping into the realm of dating with “Discover People,” Facebook is likely concerned about the growing number of dating apps inching into its territory. Apps like Tinder and Bumble have begun to develop features that help people find new friends to hang out with, not just people to date, via things like Bumble BFF and Tinder Social.

And when any other social app steps onto Facebook’s scene, the social networking giant soon tries to figure out how to compete.

“Discover People” launched in New Zealand and Australia at year-end, as a limited test. There are some examples of people who spotted this section in the fall, for instance.

Facebook says now that the feature is making its way to all users on mobile.

“Too often, it’s hard to learn more about people around you, whether it is upon starting a new job, joining a new group, deciding if you want to attend an event, or moving to a new place,” a spokesperson explains. “To make it easier, we’re starting to roll out a new bookmark in the More menu called ‘Discover People’ that can help you discover more about people you have things in common with by browsing through profile cards of people in your community.”

Updated, 12:20 PM ET with Facebook comments.

The Facebook app allows you to keep track of your friends with a location-based feature called Nearby Friends. This application allows to see where your friends are on a map. Here are the steps on how to set up Nearby Friends on your mobile.

How To Enable Nearby Friends

Open the Facebook app and then tap on the Menu button to display the navigation drawer. Go to Favorites > Nearby friends:

Click on the drop down menu below Choose who can see your neighborhood or city and select with whom you want to share your this information (Friends, Friends except Acquaintances, Family, Close Friends…):

Once done, tap on the blue Turn On button to view your nearby friends:

How To Invite Your Friends to Join Nearby Friends

Tap on + INVITE FRIENDS displayed at the top right corner of your screen to invite other people to try out this feature.

How To Disable Nearby Friends for a Specific Friend

You can configure the Facebook app to automatically turn off location sharing with a contact after a number of hours. Go back to the Nearby Friends screen and then tap on the small arrow icon displayed next to desired contact. The Share your precise location with username until menu will appear. Choose one of the available presets and tap on Share:

N.B. This setting can be configured for each of your individual contacts.

How To Disable Nearby Friends for All Friends

Tap on the Cog button displayed at the top of the Nearby Friends screen and then toggle this feature off:

Facebook’s little-used location sharing tool may be getting a refresh. Facebook recently confirmed a test of a revamped Nearby Friends that uses a new map view for the tool. The opt-in tool places friends on a map to see who’s nearby without showing precise locations.

Facebook Nearby Friends launched in 2014, though a similar feature was tested as early as 2012. The tool has undergone several different looks but is currently offered in the form of a list that just shows the town and how far away friends are. The test instead defaults to a map view showing groups of friends located within cities on the map. Like the list view, the map view doesn’t pinpoint specific locations, but shows the general location.

Facebook is testing Map view in Nearby Friends pic.twitter.com/stFzFzOjxu

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 2, 2018

The tool is designed to help friends connect offline using the online tool, but it isn’t one of Facebook’s most popular tools. Users have to opt in and enable location sharing permissions in order to use Nearby Friends. Privacy concerns likely keep many users from using the feature, and its less prominent spot in the app’s menu likely doesn’t help either.

While the tool currently looks like a list of nearby friends, the tool originally launched with a map view using Google Maps. The feature also allowed users to choose to send the exact location to other nearby friends, along with a time and a suggestion to meet up. Nearby Friends also delivers notifications when new friends are nearby.

The screenshots of the test show an updated map (without the Google Maps label) with circles and profile pictures showing all the friends that are in or near a particular city. Fans of the current format can tap on a “view list” icon to switch to the what users that aren’t part of the test already see. The test is an interesting change that moves back toward the map style view that the tool first launched with, while still trying to maintain some semblance of privacy by showing the city and not the exact building.

While Nearby Friends has been around for several years, the tool now has more competition with options like Snap Map. Snapchat’s version, along with indicating where friends are, will also display friends’ Stories and public Stories on the map, allowing users to get a visual of what’s going on in the area.

While Facebook has confirmed the test, there’s no indication yet of whether the map will see a wider roll out.

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Facebook Can Now Track Your Precise Location Continuously Through Your Phone

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg AP Photo/Paul Sakuma Today, Facebook launches a new function for its Android and iPhone apps called “Nearby Friends,” which allows users to track each others’ locations continuously down to the nearest half mile or — if you choose — as near to your precise location as possible.

Yes, it’s optional. By default the new feature is turned off. You must choose to activate it.

Once you’ve got Nearby Friends turned on, however, you’ll be able to see the location of any other friends who are also using Nearby Friends at the same time. And they’ll be able to see you. The system uses GPS and triangulation between cellphone towers to get your location (the combo reduces the drain on your battery that would be pronounced with GPS alone). It then produces a map with all your “nearby friends” on it, as long as they too have enabled their precise location.

Facebook believes it will be most useful for people trying to find each other in airports, shopping malls and parks — places where it’s often difficult to navigate because they’re huge and have no street addresses. You can use the map to walk directly toward them.

To prevent stalking, the function comes with a timer that switches off Nearby Friends after a certain time, for instance one hour. And only friends can see you in Nearby Friends — not friends of friends or members of the public you have not confirmed as friends.

Nearby Friends also produces an activity log, which you can delete at will. The log also produces maps of your whereabouts over time, which you can also delete if you want. Here’s someone’s trip from Brooklyn to JFK airport and then to Manhattan (below). You can tell by the dot spacing how fast various parts of the journey were:

Obviously, the new feature has the potential to produce a lot of new data on users. Facebook product manager Andrea Vaccari says that, currently, none of that data will be used for purposes outside the app. It will not be used to help target advertising, for instance. And Nearby Friends will not be usable by business Pages that you’re fans of — so local restaurants and stores won’t be pinging you with offers when you walk by. (Of course, given Facebook’s track record, it would seem natural that such a useful new trove of location data might eventually be monetized in some way in the future.)

In short, the fact that it’s voluntary, opt-in, and limited only to people who you want to see you will seriously restrict its use as an app for stalkers — a variable that Vaccari is painfully aware of.

Andrea Vaccari Italiani di Frontiera Vaccari came to Facebook when his startup Glancee was acquired by the social network. In 2012, he told Business Insider, Glancee was just an app that allowed Facebook friends to track you in real time, and vice versa. It was a hit at SXSW. But Glancee was running out of money, and Vaccari was so pressed for cash that he was sleeping in a closet in San Francisco rather than an apartment, to make ends meet.

But a series of meetings with former Facebook product manager Josh Williams and former product director Peter Deng led, ultimately, to a meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself at the Menlo Park HQ. “I woke up in a closet and went to meet Mark Zuckerberg!” Vaccari says. “We realized it would be a lot more powerful to build it as part of Facebook” than as a standalone app. The terms of the deal were undisclosed — but Vaccari became a Facebook employee and has been working on the Friends Nearby ever since.

About 5,000 Facebook employees have been testing Nearby Friends prior to today’s launch.

Here’s what the new function looks like.

Nearby Friends only works if you choose to switch it on:

Once it’s on, it shows you the location of any of your friends also using the function.

Nearby Friends tells you the location of friends within a half-mile radius of where they are. If you want more info, you can share precise location data with individual friends.

Here’s Facebook’s official description of the feature: