Find My Friends shows location unavailable during phone calls
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have the Find My Friends app on my iPhone only, as do the other people I use this app with. Our phones find our locations accurately almost all of the time. We have noticed, however, that our locations become ‘unavailable’ during telephone calls. Are there any apps which we may have running on our phones which could also make our locations unavailable as we have experienced this a few times.
For example, one of my friends and I were speaking in Skype (on our desktop computers) and their location was unavailable even though “Hide from Followers” was switched off. They were at home which is already a labelled and recognised address by my iPhone. Thank you.
A: The first thing to keep in mind is that Find My Friends relies on your iPhone’s cellular data connection, so if the person you’re trying to locate doesn’t have an active data connection, their location will appear as unavailable.
Unlike other location tracking apps such as Google Latitude, the Find My Friends app doesn’t actually update your location automatically as you move around; your location is only reported when somebody who you are sharing with specifically requests it. This means that if you don’t have a data connection on your iPhone when such a request is actually made, your location will generally appear as unavailable, even if you had a data connection only a few seconds prior to the request coming in. Note that your friends’ Find My Friends apps will cache your location for up to 2 hours since they last asked for it, so if they’ve checked recently, they will see the results of their last request, with an appropriate timestamp, rather than simply “not available” but the same basic logic applies—they don’t get your current location unless you have a data connection when they actually request it.
If you’re using a Verizon or Sprint phone, this means that Find My Friends will not work when you’re actually on a phone call unless you also have a Wi-Fi connection, as the iPhone does not support simultaneous voice and data on these networks.
This issue definitely does not have anything to do with any other apps installed on your iPhone; one of the advantages of iOS is that Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to interfere in any way that would cause Find My Friends or any other location-based app to fail. In fact, you can even use a GPS navigation app or another tracking app like Google Latitude alongside Find My Friends simultaneously and they’ll all play nice together, as they’re essentially all just hooking into the standard location services in iOS.
However, even with a Wi-Fi connection, or on cellular networks that do support simultaneous voice and data, Find My Friends can still sometimes fail to report a location simply due to network communication problems. Again, the iPhone must be online with an active and reachable data connection when the actual location request is made, so even if it’s out of coverage for a few seconds, that can cause the request to fail and the remote iPhone to show your location as unavailable. If you’re using a Wi-Fi network, this can also be affected by firewalls used in some businesses and schools, and even on home Wi-Fi networks, it’s possible for router settings or network congestion to impact this. For example, if the Skype problem happens regularly, it’s likely that the way your router is handling the Skype call is interfering with the traffic necessary for Find My Friends to work. In these cases, you can determine if the Wi-Fi network may be the problem simply by switching Wi-Fi OFF on both iPhones and seeing if Find My Friends is then able to report your location properly.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider
- Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling
- Analyst: ‘iPhone 8’ to feature ‘revolutionary’ front-facing camera with 3D sensors
- Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers
- Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge
- Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE
- Rumor: iPhone 8 to eliminate Touch ID in favor of Facial Recognition
- Report: Apple working on 4K for next-generation Apple TV
- Apple announces WWDC 2017
- Apple patent points to possible new Smart Keyboard with dedicated ‘Share’ and ‘Emoji’ keys
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10