How to Track / Find Your Child’s iPhone Using GPS

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Whether you’re a parent of an existing iPhone owner, or you’ve recently decided to give in to your kid’s incessant pleading for a new iPhone, you may find yourself wondering if you can leverage your son or daughter’s shiny gift to keep tabs on him/her. The answer is that, yes, but you will need to convince them to give you the password to their Apple account, or accept your location requests through Find My Friends.

Now, before we go on, let’s go over what we know about kids and parents. Kids, especially teenagers, are astoundingly moronic, impulse driven idiots that are typically completely ignorant of their own mortality who spend their time traveling in packs looking for opportunities to trump each other’s stupidity. Parent’s, especially American ones, are overwhelmingly paranoid, obsessive, overbearing blowhards that misidentify harmless coming of age behavior and experiences as threats to their child’s well being while ignoring real threats to their mental and physical health such as television and run-amok consumerism.

The message being conveyed by that last paragraph? Kids, don’t do anything to fan the flames of your parent’s already smoldering desire to play big brother in your life. Parents, use the below knowledge wisely: check on your kids when you’re worried they’re in real danger, don’t destroy their privacy and their trust in you.

How to Use Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone is a great option to track your child. If you know their login information for iCloud.com you can track their device from your web browser or from the Find My iPhone app on your own iPhone or iPad. While the service if mostly for finding stolen or lost devices, it will provide a map and blue dot representing your child’s location, provided they have their iPhone on them.

To enable Find My iPhone on your child’s device, or your own, open the Settings app on the device you want to track, then tap the iCloud tab. Enter the Apple ID password for that device, then tap the Find My iPhone tab and finally tap the Find My iPhone slider so it is ON/GREEN.

Find My iPhone Settings

Once Find My iPhone is turned on you can then track the device from iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app by logging in with the Apple ID and password assigned to the device you’re trying to locate.

Enabling Find My iPhone on any device is recommended in case it ever gets lost or stolen, however, it won’t inform you that it’s hiding under a pile of dirty laundry in your child’s bedroom. The service only gives a basic location based on GPS.

How to use Find My Friends

Using the Find My Friends app to locate your child requires cooperation from your child. They need to have AirDrop enabled and accept your request to share their location. It may be easier just to text them and ask them to share their location by following these instructions.

To enable AirDrop, just swipe up from the bottom if your Home screen to open Control Center, then tap the AirDrop bubble and select Contacts Only.

AirDrop Control Center

Once AirDrop is enabled, you can then send your child a share location request by following these instructions. Remember, if your device is using a version of iOS 8 or earlier you will need to install the app on your device from the App Store.

  1. Open Find My Friends and tap Add.
  2. Select a person from the list or type their name in the To: bar.
  3. Tap Done to send the request.

Share My Location

Apple made Find My Friends basically obsolete by adding the ability to share your location with other iPhone users through the messages app. iOS users running iOS 8.0 or later can share their location once, for an hour or indefinitely. This is a better solution than Find My Friends since it doesn’t require AirDrop or that a person be nearby. You can learn how to share your location here.

There has to be some understanding between you and your child that you will be tracking their location when you purchase them an iPhone. All of these services can be turned off with the flip of a switch or even ignored.

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