In today’s iOS Academy we’re going to be looking at one of the new apps Apple introduced with iOS 5, Find My Friends. For those unfamiliar with the app, Find My Friends is a Google Latitude-like service that allows you to share your location with friends or colleagues. The most practical use of the app would be locating family members or friends in a large event setting.

For starters, you will need to go to the App Store and download the app onto your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch for free. After the install is finished just open the app and sign in using your Apple ID. Once you’ve signed in you will see the four tabs at the bottom for navigation: All, Temporary, Me, and Requests.

iPad - Find My Friends

Now the “All” tab is where all of your friends (temporary and constant) can be found. You can tap on All Friends where you’ll be shown a zoomed out view of the map featuring pins at the location of all your friends or just tap the individual friend you wish to locate. Each friend will have their name, time they were located, and how far they are from you.

The next tab “Temporary” indicates the friends you have allowed to follow you for a certain amount of time that you dictate in the invitation. This comes in handy for colleagues and friends that you just want to share you location with while trying to meet up at a large event.

The “Me” tab showcases all of your followers and gives you the ability to remove them at any time. Also on the tab is the Hide from Followers switch that you simply slide on and off to enable or disable the ability to have followers see your location. “Requests” is a tab that allows you to view all the incoming follower requests you receive from fellow iOS users wanting to follow you.

To add friends you hit the plus sign in the upper right side corner, add their email address and personalize the message, then tap send. Let’s say you want to stop following someone or have them unable to follow you, to do so is fairly simple. Head to the the “Me” tab, tap on the person you wish to unfollow or have them no longer follow you, then just tap the corresponding choice.

Clearly one of the apps downfalls is the fact that it can eat through the already questionable iPhone 4S battery life due to the fact that GPS is on. So my suggestion is when you’re done  using the app switch on the hide from followers option in the “Me” tab.

Features include the ability to be able to switch from Standard, Satellite, or Hybrid view in Google Maps. It requires your password to enter the app just in case you leave your device sitting around. Personally my favorite feature is the app’s ability to use the gyroscope as a compass which comes in handy when you’re using the service to meet up. Another feature that could be helpful is the idea of labels. Labels allows you to label your locations as: home, work, school, gym, and none. You can even add custom names if the aforementioned labels do not coincide with your location.

There you have it, the first few iOS Academies are in the bag. We will see you back here on Monday for more how-to goodness. As always if you have any feedback or ideas just let me know.