How to Locate Your Friends Online

Search their location with apps and other tools

GPS locator illustration

Need to find a friend's location? A friend locator can let you check where your friends are right now, track where they've been recently, and monitor where they're going.

You might want a way to detect your friend's location if you're meeting them soon and are curious how far away they are. Another reason to trace a friend's phone is to find it for them if it's lost. Or, maybe you just haven't spoken to them in a long time and are curious where they're living now.

Tracking someone's location is really easy, but only if they've made it so. Not everybody broadcasts their location information online, so these techniques won't work for everybody.

Use a Location Tracker

Life360 friend locations on map

The easiest way to track where your friends are and to keep tabs on their location, is to have them install a GPS locator on their phones. This is the only true way to find a friend's phone in real time, and it's completely legal.

There are lots of free location tracker apps available that can detect your friend's location perpetually, no matter where they go. You both have to install the app for you to check their location.

Some examples of cross-platform apps that let you track a cell phone for free include Life360, Google Maps, and Glympse.

Search for Them With a People Finder

TruePeopleSearch reverse phone locator with address

Another way to find a person's location is to run their name through a people finder website. This won't find their GPS location like a phone tracker will, but it will help you locate their physical home and/or work address.

Some friend finder sites let you search by the person's number, essentially letting you locate someone's location with just their cell phone number.

Learn how to find someone's phone number online if you're looking for their cell or you're trying to figure out who owns a particular number.

Check Their Social Media Accounts

Facebook places search

Do your friends love posting things on social media? You can leverage their online activity to track them. Not all social media accounts making seeing someone's location easy, but others do.

If your friends are active on Facebook, you have a really good chance of knowing what they're up to. Check their profile to see if they're talking about a specific place they're visiting, and look through recent photos that might give away what they're up to. They might even be tagged in someone else's post or photo that's giving away location details.

Facebook Places is another service that could be helpful in checking your friends' location. You can browse various locations to see when and where friends have checked in, whether it's a restaurant, park, city, museum, etc. You can check in on Facebook, too, to provide your location details to your friends.

The Facebook mobile app also functions as a friend locator. If they're sharing their location, you can see which city they're in and how far away they are from you.

Swarm is an app that works similarly. It lets your friends share their location when they visit their favorite places. This means you can see which friends are close by and what they've been up to.

You can also trace a friend's location on Instagram if they're geotagging their photos or videos.

Does your friend use Snapchat? You can track someone's location with Snapchat through Snap Map and by checking their Snapchat stories for location-based filters.

If you're able to use a social media site to find someone's location, be mindful that others might be able to find your location, too. You might consider location sharing on social media a dangerous thing if you're not comfortable with strangers and friends seeing where you are.