Glympse vs. Find My Friends

Comparing Two Top Friend and Family Location-Sharing Apps

Man and woman standing back to back communicating using smart phones
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If you've ever tried to keep track of a group of friends or family members at a big venue such as an amusement park, sports arena, ski area, concert, or the beach, you know what a hassle it can be, even when using texting to stay in touch. There are a number of apps on the market that help you share your personal location while you simultaneously see the location of selected friends and family.

The two top apps, Glympse and Apple's own Find My Friends, have some distinctly different characteristics, and this review will help you choose. For starters, both are free apps.

About Glympse

Glympse allows you to share your location in a dynamic map. You may share Glympse location with others who have the app, but -- a big plus -- you may also send a Glympse location sharing link that shows your real-time location via an ordinary web browser. 

If you are traveling and wish to share your current location, destination, and estimated time of arrival with a friend or family member, for example, it's easy to set up in Glympse. Simply start the app, and tap for a "new Glympse." You may select the email address or phone number of your Glympse recipient, and Glympse will draw from your address book if you give it permission.

After you have selected your recipient, you select an expiration time for your Glympse (up to four hours maximum), and you may also input your destination (using a search utility linked to a global map), as well as a written message. You may selection among pre-written messages ("Almost there!") or type in your own.

When you send your Glympse, your recipient receives an email or message with a map and an invitation to "view this Glympse." A nice plus -- your recipient does not need to register or log in to view your Glympse map and message. Your Glympse map shows your current location, speed, and estimated time of arrival, as well as your chosen message. This is a great utility.

Your stats appear on your route screen as well, and you may stop sharing your Glympse at any time. You may also opt not to show your speed on the Glympse map. You may also modify your current Glympse share at any time.

Glympse Groups

To help multiple friends or family keep track of each other, you may set up a Glympse Group on a shared Glympse map. Groups may be viewed on the app or via a simple web linked map, and members do not need to be registered with Glympse.

Overall, Glympse fulfills its promise for simple but powerful and effective location sharing that does not require users to register, and gives users control over location sharing and privacy.

Apple Find My Friends

Apple's Find My Friends app, which comes free with Apple's iOS, is an effective friend locator, but it's different from Glympse in several ways. Find My Friends, not surprisingly, is based more on the Apple ecosystem, and requires location-sharers to be registered Apple users. Unlike Glympse, users must have the app installed on their Apple device to participate.

If everyone is using Apple products and has the app installed, however, Find My Friends is easy to use and shows the location and distance of your friend ​group in real time. 


One powerful feature that sets Find My Friends apart is the ability to set a geofence for children, for example. This is ideal for a parent who wants to set up a location radius around their child's school or home to be notified of departures and arrivals from the prescribed area.

Which Is Better?

Find My Friends does not have the travel map and estimated time of arrival features of Glympse, but overall, Find My Friends is a very good app for dedicated Apple users who don't need Glympse's travel features. In the Glympse vs. Find My Friends comparison, we give the nod to Glympse unless you need Apple's geofence feature.