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

An image of the Swarm app icon.

Photo © cnythz / Getty Images

Are you seeing location check-ins from an app called Swarm shared by your friends on social media? Or did a friend invite you to join in on the fun?

Here's what this all is all about and why you might want to start using it.

What Is the Foursquare Swarm App?

Swarm is a social location-sharing app. Many people know it as formerly the popular location-sharing app Foursquare, which launched back 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 into a specific location with the help of their mobile device's GPS function.

Several years later, Foursquare had 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.

In other words, if you like sharing your location with friends, then you'll want to use Swarm. If you like discovering new places around you, then you'll need to use Foursquare.

Follow the steps below to learn how to use Swarm.

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Download Swarm and Sign in

The Swarm logo.

Foursquare Swarm

You can download the Swarm app for free on iOS and Android devices.

If you already have an account with the Foursquare app, 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.

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View Your Timeline

Two screenshots of the Swarm app.

Once you've logged into Swarm for the first time, the app might take you through a few introductory screenshots before you can start using it.

The first tab, which can be found by tapping the the person icon on the menu at the bottom of the screen, shows you a map summary of your location and checkins plus a timeline of checkins you've made. Tap the map at the top to see locations nearby.

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

You can tap the blue checkmark button beside any location suggestion to confirm your checkin there and add it to your timeline or tap the blue X button to either delete it or see more places near it if the app was a little off from your original location.

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Connect With Friends

To add friends to Swarm, navigate to the friends tab on the bottom menu, marked by the three-person icon. If you're a brand new user, the app will display some options for adding friends.

You can either start typing in a friend's username in the search field at the top, connect to Facebook to find friends on Swarm 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 be able to see a timeline of your friends' check-ins. And if you ever want to add a new friend, simply tap Add Friend in the top right corner.

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Customize Your Profile and Privacy Settings

You can access your Swarm profile by tapping the profile picture icon in the top 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 brief summary of information based on your check-ins.

To configure your privacy settings, tap the settings option marked by the gear icon at in the top right corner of the screen on your profile tab. Then tap Privacy Settings.

From here, you can check or uncheck any 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.

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Check Into Your First Place to Share Your Location

Three screenshots of the Swarm app.

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 big location pin button in the middle of the menu at the bottom. Swarm will then automatically detect your current location for you and list it at the top, but you can tap Change Location beneath it if you'd rather search for a different nearby location.

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 at the top to go with it, or you could snap a photo to be attached to it.

You can also tap the person icon in the bottom left to tag other friends you're with, tap the padlock icon to check-in off the grid or tap the Facebook/Twitter icons to automatically share to your social profiles. Tap the blue Check In button when you're done.

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