iPhone ‘Find My Friends’ app saves man after he gets stuck on a mountain – The Independent


There’s an iPhone app that many Apple users have never fired up, but others refer to obsessively. It’s called Find My Friends and it means you can see where your friends are.

If that sounds too Big Brother, don’t worry, your friends must opt in on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. And obviously you have to give your consent before anyone can see where you are. It’s not meant for spying on people.

You can stop sharing your location easily and your friends just see a message saying your location is not available, which all adds to the general atmosphere of mystery you’re trying to convey.

Gadgets and tech news in pictures

Gadgets and tech news in pictures

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    Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie 'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi

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    Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session

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    A test line of a new energy suspension railway resembling the giant panda is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

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    A test line of a new energy suspension railway, resembling a giant panda, is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

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    A concept car by Trumpchi from GAC Group is shown at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A Mirai fuel cell vehicle by Toyota is displayed at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A visitor tries a Nissan VR experience at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A man looks at an exhibit entitled 'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London

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    A new Israeli Da-Vinci unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Elbit Systems is displayed during the 4th International conference on Home Land Security and Cyber in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv

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    Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S

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    The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. This is a production preview of the Jaguar I-PACE, which will be revealed next year and on the road in 2018

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    Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan

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    Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03'

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    Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan

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    Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    The interior of Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0

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    A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. The Connected company is a part of seven Toyota in-house companies that was created in April 2016

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    A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company's pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota's "connected strategy" press briefing in Tokyo

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    An exhibitor charges the battery cells of AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    A robot with a touch-screen information apps stroll down the pavillon at the Singapore International Robo Expo

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    An exhibitor demonstrates the AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    Robotic fishes swim in a water glass tank displayed at the Korea pavillon during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea

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    Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea

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    Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Ford EEBL Emergency Electronic Brake Lights is demonstrated during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Full-scale model of 'Kibo' on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan

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    Miniatures on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan. In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module 'Kibo' of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles

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    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight. At this biennial event, the participating companies exhibit their latest service robotic technologies and components

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    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight

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    Government and industry are working together on a robot-like autopilot system that could eliminate the need for a second human pilot in the cockpit

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    Aurora Flight Sciences' technicians work on an Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automantion System (ALIAS) device in the firm's Centaur aircraft at Manassas Airport in Manassas, Va.

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    Stefan Schwart and Udo Klingenberg preparing a self-built flight simulator to land at Hong Kong airport, from Rostock, Germany

Anyway, it’s useful for all of us, whether that’s working out exactly where in the park you’ll be waiting or so your friends can deduce you’re going to be late. Again.

But it can have more significant repercussions – life-saving, even.

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Phones store a full record of everywhere they’ve been

Earlier this week in the Lake District, a climber got into difficulty in thick fog.

He was looking for a famous hillside cave, Priest’s Hole, as featured by the BBC show Secret Britain last year. He lost his footing and plunged 60 feet into a steep gully, injuring his head as he did so.

He had his phone with him and called the emergency services, in this case the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team. But the rescue team were unable to work out exactly where he was, so couldn’t find him.

This was a disaster, right? Well, it might have been if he hadn’t been able to show them exactly where he was using the Find My Friends app. The app uses GPS and so the rescuers could see his exact location and were able to find him.

They nearly didn’t though, because the climber then decided to use another app, Facebook, to tell his friends all about the adventure, which flattened the battery.

However, he was finally winched to safety by a rescue helicopter, transferred to hospital and later released having only suffered bruising. He never did find Priest’s Hole.

The app, by the way, is pretty flexible. You can follow up to 50 friends and participate in up to 10 temporary events.

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