Facebook's Nearby Friends: What You Need to Know

How this location-based feature works and how to enable or disable it

Facebook Nearby Friends is a location-based feature. It finds and displays the location of friends who are close by in case you want to meet up. You should be aware that Nearby Friends comes with potential security concerns.

The Facebook Nearby Friends feature is only available on iOS and Android devices.

The Privacy Implications of Nearby Friends

When you turn on Nearby Friends, Facebook warns that you are also turning on location history. By turning on location history, you create a digital record of your travels.

Facebook says users can delete items from their location history, or delete their entire history. Delete your location history periodically if you're uncomfortable with this aspect of Nearby Friends.

Nearby Friends also has implications for relationships: cheating spouses, overbearing parents, and people who say they're in one place but whose location information tells a different story. Keep this in mind when using the feature.

If you enable Nearby Friends, even though you can restrict your precise location, your general location is available to those you've chosen to share it with. It doesn't allow you to choose public as a sharing option.

Enable or Disable Nearby Friends on an Android Device

Here's how to turn off the Nearby Friends feature on an Android device.

  1. Select the three-horizontal-line menu icon on the Facebook app screen.

  2. Choose Nearby Friends.

  3. Tap the slider to turn Nearby Friends on or off.

Enable Nearby Friends on an iOS Device

To turn on Nearby Friends on an iOS device, first, turn on location sharing.

  1. Tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services on your iOS device.

    iOS settings privacy location services
  2. Use the slider at the top of the screen to turn on location services.

  3. Select Share My Location.

  4. Tap the slider next to Share My Location to turn on the feature.

  5. Select My Location to choose which of your iOS devices you want to share your location. (Typically, this is your iPhone, but it could be your iPad, for example.)

  6. Open the Facebook app on your iOS device.

  7. Tap the three-horizontal-line menu icon in the lower-right corner of the Facebook app.

  8. Tap Nearby Friends. (You may first need to tap See More.)

    Facebook Nearby Friends
  9. Select Get Started, then select which audience you'd like to share your location with. You can choose specific friends or groups.

    If you haven't turned on location sharing, the screen prompts you to visit Location Settings and set the Location Access to Always.

  10. Select Next to share your location. You can also see other friends who are currently sharing their location.

Turn Off Nearby Settings on an iOS Device

Follow these steps to stop sharing your location.

  1. Follow the above steps to navigate to the Nearby Friends feature.

  2. Select the gear icon next to your profile name.

  3. Select Turn off Nearby Friends.

    Facebook Nearby Friends off
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