Find My Friends and Passcodes

Q: Apple’s Find My Friends app asks me to sign in with my Apple ID each time I use it, which makes it a real pain to use when I’m in a hurry. Is there any way to shut this off? I thought this irritating behaviour was normal until I noticed that one of my friends doesn’t get this sign-in prompt when they start up Find My Friends. What’s the setting I’m missing to turn this off?

– Kathryn

Find My Friends and Passcodes

A: The short answer is that you need to set a passcode on your device. Presumably to protect your privacy (and that of your friends), if you do not have a passcode lock set on your device itself, Find My Friends will prompt you for your Apple ID password each time you start the app.

This way, if somebody else gets their hands on your iPhone, they can’t locate your other friends or tamper with your own Find My Friends settings (such as enabling it or adding themselves to your list). The sign-on screen in the latest version of the Find My Friends app actually notes this near the bottom, although it’s easy to miss as it will be obscured as soon as the keyboard comes up.

You can set a passcode on your iOS device simply by going into the Settings app and choosing General, Passcode Lock and selecting the option to Turn Passcode On.


Find My Friends and Passcodes

The Require Passcode option on this screen allows you to set the interval after which the passcode will be required, ranging from “immediately” up to one hour, based on when your device goes into sleep mode via either the auto-lock timeout or pressing the Sleep/Wake button on the top of the device.

You can set any interval you like here, and if device security isn’t a huge priority for you, the maximum—one hour—will still allow a good tradeoff between security and convenience; Find My Friends only cares that you have a passcode set—any other passcode-related settings are ignored.

Once you’ve set a passcode on your device, you will need to sign into Find My Friends one more time when you return to the app, after which you should be able to continue accessing it again without having to enter your Apple ID password.


Find My Friends and Passcodes

Note that you can still sign out of the Find My Friends app manually by tapping the “Sign Out” button. In addition to requiring you to sign in with your Apple ID and password again next time, however, this will also disable any location reporting from your device until you specifically sign in again.