Foursquare's Swarm App: What It Is and How to Use It

Why you'll love this app if you enjoy sharing your location with friends

Are you seeing location check-ins shared from an app called Swarm by your friends on social media? Or did a friend invite you to join in on the fun? Here's what the Foursquare Swarm app is all about and why you may want to start using it.

What Is the Foursquare Swarm App?

Swarm is a social location-sharing app from the developers of the Foursquare City Guide. The City Guide launched in 2009 and quickly became a popular location-sharing platform. People would "check-in" to let friends know where they were with the help of their mobile device's GPS function.

Now, the Foursquare City Guide app is a tool for finding places around you, and its newer Swarm app contains most of its former social networking features. In other words, if you like sharing your location with friends, you'll want to use Swarm. If you like discovering new places around you, you'll need to use City Guide.

Download Swarm and Sign In

If you have an account with the Foursquare City Guide app, you can use those same credentials to sign in to Swarm and add your profile details, friends, and check-in history.

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

Once you've logged into Swarm for the first time, the app takes you through a few introductory screens before you can use it.

Signing up on Foursquare Swarm.

The Swarm app is free for iOS and Android. Go to the App Store to download the app for iOS, or go to Google Play to download the app for Android.

View Your Timeline

Tap the Person icon in the lower-left corner to view a map summary of your location and check-ins, plus a timeline of your previous check-ins. Tap the map at the top of the screen to see nearby places you've visited.

If you haven't checked in anywhere yet, you might not see much in your timeline. However, the app may give a few check-in suggestions based on any location data the app picks up from your device's GPS.

Two screenshots of the Swarm app.

Connect With Friends

If you're a new user, the app prompts you to add friends. You can select Find friends from Contacts and find friends from any listed social media platforms.

You can also navigate to the Friends tab by tapping the Friends icon in the lower-right corner. Start typing in a friend's name in the search field at the top, or look through your existing contacts to see who's on Swarm. The app might also offer a few friend suggestions.

Now, whenever you navigate to this tab, you'll see a timeline of your friends' check-ins. And when you want to add a new friend, tap Add Friends.

Adding friends to Foursquare Swarm app.

Customize Your Profile and Privacy Settings

Access your Swarm profile by tapping the Profile icon in the upper-left corner of any tab. Here, you can add a profile picture, your name, phone number, email address, gender, location, and a short bio. You can also see a summary of information based on your check-ins.

To configure your privacy settings, tap the Settings icon in the upper-right corner of the Profile tab. Then tap Privacy Settings.

From here, you can select options regarding how your contact information is shared, how your check-ins are shared, who can see your profile statistics, and more. You can also navigate back to the Settings tab to configure your settings for sound effects, notifications, and third-party applications.

Profile and Privacy Settings on Swarm.

Check In to Share Your Location

Now that you've connected with some friends, customized your profile, and configured your privacy settings, you're all set to start sharing your location.

Tap the location pin in the lower middle area of the screen. Swarm then automatically detects your current location and lists it at the top, but you can tap Change Location beneath your location if you'd rather select a different nearby spot.

Check-ins are similar to posts on other social networks such as Facebook. You can add a comment to your check-in and choose any of the emoji icons in the upper vertical menu. You can also select the camera icon under your profile image to snap a photo and attach it to your check-in.

Checking in on Swarm app.

Tap the Person icon in the lower-left corner to tag other friends you're with, or tap the Lock icon to check in off the grid. Select the Facebook and Twitter icons to share to your social profiles automatically.

Select Check In when you're done.

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