iOS 8 tip: How to find your friends without the Find My Friends appI use the iOS Find My Friends app all the time to check on my wife’s 411, particularly in the late afternoon when my two-year-old wants to know when Mommy’s going to be home.

Because I have the actual Find My Friends app tucked into a folder on one of my various home screens, I have to do a fair amount of tapping to launch the app—not a huge deal, mind you, but still a bit tedious.

So imagine my delighted surprise when I discovered a new, much easier way to pull up a map with a dot pinpointing my wife’s location.

The secret? The Messages app—yep, the same app you use (probably) every day for exchanging text messages.

iOS Messages Details button

Just tap the “Details” button for a “Find My Friends”-style map of a chat friend’s location.

Just launch Messages, open a recent conversation with a friend or loved one (and if you’re like me, there’s always a thread near the top with your S.O., a best friend, or a close family member), and tap the Details button in the top corner of the screen.

Now, this new Details screen lets you do a number of things; for example, you can view all the images or videos you’ve traded in the thread, or flip a Do Not Disturb switch to silence an ongoing a group conversation.

More importantly, though, you can also tap a button to share your location with your fellow texters —and if a specific texting partner has previously agreed to share their location with you, you’ll see their location on a map, just like in the Find My Friends app.

Now, keep in mind that the Messages app won’t let you create a “geofence” that alerts you when a “Find My Friend’ friend arrives at a destination or departs from a specific place; for that, you’ll need to open the Find My Friends app.

There’s also no easy way to jump to the Messages app directly to the Find My Friends app—or at least, none that I could find.

To be honest, though, I don’t really miss Find My Friend’s “geofencing” feature all that much (it never worked properly for me anyway)—and I certainly don’t miss having to dig up up the Find My Friend app.

Have more iOS 8 questions? Let me know!

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