Glympse is free for both Android and iPhone. This free app lets family members track one another in real time. One great feature automatically lets family members know when someone has entered a predefined location, like home or school. You can choose two such spots. So when the kids come home after school, Life 's app automatically checks them in and sends an alert to show they've made it. The app also includes a full location history, which is nice for an overview of recent activity.
The built-in "panic" option sends out an emergency beacon to designated emails, text and phones with your exact location of your GPS coordinates. The app can also be used to message family members. That pro version comes with unlimited check-in places, roadside assistance, the ability to locate non-smartphones, and protection against stolen phones. Life offers a 30 day free trial to its premium features. This app, which is also made by the Life guys, gives you a central place for sharing your location and messaging. Headed out of town for a few days of downtime? Plan and coordinate your trip with others before getting in the car.
Likewise, the app can be used to quickly broadcast your location in an emergency situation. Like other apps of its kind, this one uses Google Maps at its heart, so it's a breeze to learn and understand. Along these lines, the map automatically lists places such as police stations, fire departments and hospitals, among other.
All users are invited to try the day free trial. Find My Friends is free for Android. The design is reminiscent of the old Google Latitude and integrates, naturally, with Google Maps.
Once the person accepts, you'll be able to see each other through the app. It's worth noting that a friend doesn't have to share their location with you in order for you to send yours.
Conversely, you can toggle exactly who you share your "where" with, too. Each of the four major US wireless providers also offers its own particular Android app or service for keeping an eye on loved ones. All four feature a number of free services and individual options tailored to the user; paid features come at a monthly premium. If you're a subscriber to one of these carriers, then you may find one of these apps suits your needs.
Which apps do you prefer to use for such a purpose? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. To see how well those controls stack up against the stand-alone services, please see our overview of the best and worst antivirus software for parents. All of these apps can do more on Android than they can on iOS, due to Apple's tight restrictions.
A couple of the apps were in fact crippled by Apple in mid, and although they later had much of their functionality restored, Apple could yank the rug out from them again at any time. So if you're really serious about keeping tabs on what your kids are doing and to whom they're talking online, get them Android phones.
Just be wary of any parental control app that you have to sideload -- there's usually a reason it isn't in the official Google Play store. Among all the parental-control apps we tried, it comes closest to having feature parity between its iOS and Android versions. Its iOS abilities don't seem to have been affected by recent Apple policy changes.
Choose The Best Cell Phone Tracker
Net Nanny can track your child's location, display their location history, and set time allowances and schedules equally well on both platforms. The iOS version lets you block several dozen apps on your kid's phone; the Android one lets you block them all. The only thing Net Nanny can't do on a smartphone is monitor calls or texts. No apps we tested can do that on iOS, but several do on Android.
Read our full Net Nanny Parental Control review. Norton Family Premier's power and features are ideal for Android and Windows households with many children, offering nearly every feature a parent could want from one of the best parental control apps. This service's location-tracking, time-scheduling, and web-filtering and -monitoring capabilities work on both iOS and Android, but Norton's time allowances are only for its Windows and Android software.
App management and text-message monitoring don't work in the iOS app at all. There's no geofencing on either mobile platform. At that price, getting Norton Family Premier along with Norton's excellent antivirus protection is a no-brainer, unless your kids use Macs instead of Windows PCs. Read our full Norton Family Premier review. Kaspersky's location tracking and geofencing work in both iOS and Android, as do its web monitoring and device scheduling. But app management is limited on iOS, and the iOS app can't monitor calls or texts at all.
Still, if you don't feel a need to read your kids' text messages, then Kaspersky Safe Kids is well worth considering. In March , Kaspersky Lab filed an antitrust complaint against Apple for allegedly forcing the removal of some features from Kaspersky Safe Kids. Apple hinted in June that it might relax some of its tighter restrictions on iOS parental-control apps with iOS 13, but we haven't yet seen anything different and Kaspersky's complaint is ongoing. Read our full Kaspersky Safe Kids review. Qustodio has software for Macs, PCs, iOS and Android devices and Amazon Fire tablets, and it lets you set time limits for individual apps and individual devices.
This service's limited location tracking works on both iOS and Android, and Qustodio finally added a geofencing option in the fall of A Family Locator feature that shows you where all your kids are at once was added in September You can manage only a few dozen apps on iOS, as opposed to all Android apps. Web filtering is more powerful on iOS, while monitoring texts and calls works on only Android.
Read our full Qustodio review. Once the most powerful parental-control app for iPhones, OurPact was hobbled by an Apple rule change in late that nixed the service's geofencing, location tracking and time allowances on iOS. At its peak, OurPact was the only parental-control app we tested that could manage or block any iOS app.
It can still do so for Android devices. OurPact also gets kids involved in managing the daily allowance of screen time that you give them, and it does a good job of scheduling. Yet, its website filtering simply blocks porn, and it can't monitor calls or texts at all, even on Android. However, you can block messaging apps, and OurPact remains a joy to use.
Top 5 Family Locator Apps (updated 2020)
Read our full OurPact review. Screen Time -- not to be confused with the "Screen Time" feature in iOS -- does an excellent job of managing and scheduling kids' device access. Unfortunately, it doesn't do a whole lot else, at least on iOS devices. App management and web filtering are for Android only.
FindUS GPS Cell Phone Tracker on the App Store
Screen Time also has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which are arguably essentials and come standard with other parental-control apps. You can get both features in the day Screen Time premium trial. We did like how Screen Time lets you dole out additional, yup, screen time to kids who perform chores or good deeds. But you can't block apps on iOS, and there's no call or text monitoring at all, although geofencing and location history were recently added -- for Android phones only.
Read our full Screen Time review. ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to a single platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring and number blocking features and implementing clunky controls on what it does have. The app management and time management you receive with the free version of ESET Parental Control for Android do work well, as do the location tracking and geofencing you'll get if you pay for a subscription. There's a day free trial. And we liked the feature that lets a kid send an SOS message to designated phones with a single tap.
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MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want on Android phones, but its abilities are severely limited on iOS and the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating on both platforms. The iOS and Android smartphone apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering, and MMGuardian recently added an artificial-intelligence component to spot nudity in saved images.
On an Android phone, the parent can use MMGuardian to read every text and block any number. Unfortunately, time management and screen-time scheduling are Android-only, and the separate MMGuardian app for Android tablets has no location tracking. Even by the lowered expectations of what an iOS parental control app can do, MMGuardian doesn't offer a lot for iPhone users. Read our full MMGuardian review.
What you need from a parental-control service mainly depends on how old your kids are. If you're the parent of children under 12, you absolutely want to be able to block objectionable websites, but you might also consider an app that's available on Amazon Fire tablets. If you've got teenagers, you might want to let them have a look at objectionable things online, but only if you're aware of it.