How to Use Foursquare's Swarm App

Get Started with Foursquare's Swarm App

Foursquare Swarm App
Photo Mareen © Fischinger / Getty Images

Location-sharing app Foursquare launched in 2009 and quickly grew into one of the most popular platforms people used to let their friends know wherever they were in the world by checking in to a specific location with the help of their mobile device's GPS function.

Several years later, Foursquare has evolved beyond its use for mass check-ins at every venue you visit. The app has now been split up into two: one for location discovery and another for connecting with friends.

The main Foursquare app is now a tool for finding places around you, and its newer Swarm app contains most of its former social networking features -- extracted into a brand new app to help simplify its uses.

Here's how you can get started with Foursquare's Swarm app.

Download Swarm and Sign in

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

You can download the Swarm app for iOS and Android.

If you're already familiar with using the main Foursquare app and have an account already, you can use those same details to sign in to swarm and have all your profile details, friends and check-in history transferred to it.

If you don't already have a Foursquare account, you can sign in to Swarm through your Facebook account or create a brand new account using your email address.

Find and Connect with Your Friends

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshots of Swarm for Android

Once you've logged in to Swarm for the first time, the app might take you through a few introductory screenshots before taking you to the first tab.

The first tab, which can be found on the honeycomb icon in the menu at the top of the screen, shows you a summary of who's nearby. If you signed in to Swarm using Foursquare, you might see a few friends' faces on this tab, but of course if you're a brand new user, you'll have to add some friends first.

To add friends, you can either start typing in a friend's username in the search bar labeled "Find a friend" or you can alternatively look through your existing contacts or Facebook friends, which is a much faster method.

To do this, tap your user photo icon located right below the top screen main menu, which should take you to your user profile. (You can also customize your profile from here and add a user profile photo if you don't have one yet.)

One your own profile tab, tap the icon at the top of the screen that looks like a little person with a plus sign (+) next to it. In this tab, you see your current friend requests and choose any option to find friends from Facebook, Twitter, from your address book or again search by name.

Customize Your Privacy Settings

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

From your profile tab, tap the settings option marked by the gear icon at the top of the screen so that you can make any necessary changes to your privacy settings before you start sharing information with Swarm. Scroll down until you see an option marked "Privacy Settings" and tap it.

From here, you can check or uncheck any options regarding how your contact information is shared, how your check-ins are shared, how your background location is shared and how ads are displayed to you based on your activity.

Tap the Check-in Button to Share Your Location

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

After you've connected with some friends on Swarm, you're all set to start sharing your location.

Navigate back to the first tab in the main menu (the honeycomb icon) and tap the check-in button found beside your profile photo and current location. Swarm will then automatically detect your current location for you, but you can tap "Change location" beneath it if you'd rather search for a different nearby location.

You can add a comment to your check-in and choose any one of the little icons at the top to set an emotion to go with it, or you could snap a photo to be attached to it. Tap "Check-in" to publish your check-in to Swarm.

Use the List Tab to View Most Recent Friend Check-ins

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

The first tab marked by the honeycomb icon is great for seeing a summary of who's closest to your location and who's farthest, but if you want to see a more complete feed of your friends' check-ins, you can move on to the second tab marked by the list icon.

This tab will show you a feed of the most recent to oldest check-ins by your friends. You can also check yourself in to a location from this tab.

Tap the heart icon next to any friend check-in to quickly let them know you liked it, or tap the actual check in to be taken to the fullscreen tab for that specific check-in so you can add a comment to it.

Use the Plan Tab to Meet Up with Friends Later

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

Swarm has a tab that's completely dedicated to creating and publishing plans for its users to inform one another about meet-up places at particular times. You can find this in the third tab from left on the top menu marked by the plug icon.

Tap it to write a short plan about getting together. Once you hit send, it will be published to Swarm and viewable by the friends located in your city.

Friends who see it will be able to add comments to confirm whether or not they're up for attending, or to get more details about what's going on.

Use the Activity Tab to View All Interactions

Foursquare Swarm App
Screenshot of Swarm for Android

The last tab on the top menu marked by the speech bubble icon displays a feed of all the interactions you've received, including friend requests, comments, likes and more.

Keep in mind that you can configure your user settings, including the notifications you receive from Swarm, by tapping the gear icon from your user profile tab.