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macOS Catalina introduces a brand new app from Apple called Find My. The app is the Mac version of two apps that started on the iPhone and iPad: Find My iPhone and Find My Friends.
Starting with iOS 13 and macOS Catalina, Apple merged the two location sharing apps into Find My. The new Find My app works on macOS Catalina for location sharing and device tracking without iCloud.com.
Upgrade to macOS Catalina or setting up a new Mac? Apple’s new Find My app can be found on the Dock along the bottom of your screen. Look for the green circle icon with the blue radar wave. You can also open Find My by click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner and typing ‘Find My’ into the search box.
Find My works with Apple’s iCloud service. You can turn the feature on and off from the System Preferences app under Apple ID → iCloud → Find My. The checkbox will toggle your data in the Find My app on and off. You can also select options to see Mac-specific feature permissions:
- Find My Mac helps you locate your computer if it’s lost or stolen while preventing anyone else from accessing your data
- Offline Finding uses Apple’s network of devices to help locate your Mac even if it’s not connected to the internet
Now it’s time to starting using Find My! If you already use Find My Friends or the new Find My app on iPhone or iPad, then Find My on the Mac will already be populated with family and friends.
You can invite people to add you in their Find My app with the Share My Location button on the bottom left of the Find My window. Type in their contact name, email, or phone number, then they can respond to your invitation and optionally share their location back.
Location sharing probably isn’t something you want to do with just any acquaintance. It can be very useful for coordinating with your closest friends and family, however, and you can always control when and how your location is shared.
At a glance
Find My organizes your friend list by location. For example, the closest contact appears at the top of the list. Prefer to always have your partner or children at the top of the list? You can favorite any contact to prioritize them on your list.
Find My will show their profile picture, name, location label, last updated location update time, and distance from your current location.
You can select an individual contact to see their location a map as well. From the map view you can select the contact, then click the “i” button for more information and options.
You can easily message or call your contact, find directions to their location, or even create a notification for the contact. Here’s how notifications work:
- Notify yourself or the contact when they change location or you change location
- Notifications can always repeat when the location changes or only occur once
If you set a notification for a friend’s location change, they will receive an alert notifying them about the alert as well — no sneaky alerts!
This is great for automatically notifying your partner that you’re on the way home or that your kids arrived at school on time.
Set up an alert from your iPhone? Find My on the Mac syncs with iCloud so the same rules will apply:
Find My on macOS Catalina also lets you control other location-sharing settings including:
- labeling location names like work or school
- pausing location sharing
- removing a contact from Find My
Instant access to the Find My service on the Mac is really useful in macOS Catalina — no need to load up icloud.com or pull out your iPhone or iPad to check the service.
Find My isn’t just useful for sharing work and school location with friends and family. I usually check to see if my aunt is at home before I video call her with FaceTime. It’s also fun to meet up with family and friends if you happen to notice that you’re nearby unexpectedly.
Find My does replace the Find Friends integration that previous versions of macOS included, however, so the dedicated app replaces the removed Find Friends widget in the Today view of Notification Center — for now at least.
Devices can be more specific than People. Why? People choose one device to share location from like an iPhone, iPad, or a cellular Apple Watch. It’s meant to show where that person probably is right now. Devices is more sensitive in that it shows exactly where each person’s device is, not just the one their using.
Here’s what Find My can do for you or your family’s devices:
- Play a sound to help locate a nearby lost device
- Find directions to a lost device’s locations
- Put a device in Lost Mode
- Erase the device if it can’t be recovered
Find My will also include a visual representation of the device’s battery life. This will give you an idea of whether or not the missing device is about to go offline or not.
If you no longer have a device listed in Find My, you can optionally remove it from the Mac app using your Apple ID password. This change will sync to Find My on your other devices over iCloud.
Find My can be great for locating iPhones lost in couch cushions, iPads in backpacks, or even stolen Apple Watches — and now it’s totally built-in to the Mac.
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