Apple's new location-based "Find My Friends" app may already have cost one couple their relationship.
The app, developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices running iOS 5, allows you to find and track your friends' coordinates if that friend has opted-in to sharing his or her location. The app aims to make it easier to find and meet up with friends, yet there could also be downsides to the app precisely because it allows users to check up on each others' locations--and see when someone is fibbing.
This is reportedly what happened recently to one couple. On October 15, MacRumors reader "ThomasMetz" posted a comment titled "Divorcing wife. Thanks iPhone 4s and Find My Friends." His post went on to say that he had secretly installed Find My Friends on his wife's new iPhone 4S because he suspected she was "meeting this guy who live uptown." According to the post, when the app confirmed ThomasMetz's suspicions that his wife was uptown, he texted her to ask where she was and she said she was downtown. ThomasMetz concludes the post by saying he took screenshots of the alleged proof of infidelity and would "meet her a$$ at the lawyer's office in a few weeks. thankfully, she's the rich one."
The validity of this sensational story was questioned by other readers of MacRumors because ThomasMetz had only recently appeared on the forum. One commenter wrote, "But the skeptic in me is doubting, since he just made his account this month." In fact, according to another commenter the ThomasMetz handle had only been created that day.
According to The Next Web, the problem with Find My Friends is that, “Unlike foursquare, 'Find my Friends' shares your location with whomever you accept a request from, all of the time.” With Foursquare, each check-in is a decision to tell people where you are, while Find My Friends constantly transmits your location whenever it’s turned on, although you can choose to only share your location information for a limited time.
Potential creepiness aside, the app has other issues. While it's advertised as being good for families, only one device per Apple ID can use Find My Friends at a time. According to ZDNET, this could be a big pain for households that share an Apple ID over multiple devices.
A commenter on the iTunes App store wrote, “I had to make my wife a new iCloud Apple ID in order to use this app. We have to choose between sharing calendars, photostream and contacts -- and being able to use this app.”
See other top features of iOS 5 below including iMessages, Twitter integration and Apple's Newsstand.