9 Best Real Time Location Tracking Apps

As the Technology head at Parentaldaily.com, I have had the pleasure of testing over 20+ applications on my android and iPhone, with the goal of identifying the top 9 best real time location tracking apps.

The intention of this article is to provide you with an authoritative and comprehensive guide to these apps, based on extensive testing and analysis. 

Three kids holding phones showing their location in-front of a big graphic map

I will not recommend you shady location tracking apps that guarantee users to spy on family members or friends without them knowing. I also don’t take payments from app developers or marketers to promote their apps as the legitimate or the best ones.

I omitted both mSpy and Spyzie apps, as they both belong to the same developer and also have terrible reviews on the App store snd Play store. They provide affiliate programs to sites like ours, but we believe it is un-ethical to take payments and recommend a product without even testing it. Another thing that we didn’t like about these apps is the trial sign-up is not customer friendly and I am not really the fan of those services that can not show their subscription prices clearly.

When you visit mSpy’s trial page which displays “Free Mobile tracker,” clicking on which opens a deal page where mSpy showcases their Coupons deals where you have to pay a subscription fee to start your free trial. This type of business transaction is totally un-ethical as it traps a customer luring them with a free deal and then asking them to pay a subscription fee to start a trial period.

I have tested all the below recommended real time location tracking apps on my iPhone SE 2 (Which is my personal device) and Galaxy S13 (I only use for testing apps and games). Some apps are only available for android users, but they can download most of these location tracking apps on both iOS and android devices.

The primary features that were looked for in these apps were location history, live location, phone location, and location sharing. These are crucial aspects that help provide a comprehensive picture of an individual’s movements. Whether you are looking for your kid’s whereabouts or want to track the location of a stolen phone, these apps can provide useful and timely information. 

We can also use these apps in an emergency like SOS messaging or calling, fall-detection alert, Geo-fencing feature for Kids or teens, live location tracking and location history.

In this New York Times article By Jessica Grose discusses the increased use of Location Trackers by parents and guardians. The article also touches that because of rising concerns about child’s safety and security, parents are seeing GPS trackers or location trackers as a viable option.

Anna Jones, in her BBC opinion piece “The parents who track their children” delves into the pros and cons of using location tracking apps to track and supervise their child activities. The main concern of Jones is that whether Child-tracking apps do more harm than the good.

Over 32 million people use Life360 app, which is a huge number and according to a survey conducted in the UK amongst 4000 parents and guardians, about  40% of them used real-time GPS location tracking to track their kid’s whereabout. So the location tracking industry is a huge business and there are bad actors as well.

Another survey reports that over 60% of parents say that location tracking apps have helped them find their lost or missing phones. This report published in Pewresearch organisation shares that about 80% of parents use some form of technology to monitor their children’s online activity and location.

There are positive and negative reviews about using location tracking apps to track their kid’s activities and whereabouts. Some people call it invasive and intrusive to a child’s privacy, but others disagree and agree that it is totally fine if parents talk to their child or teen and let them know the reason behind using the app.

Moreover, I’ve also checked many social forums where people engage with other users to share their experiences. One user named sangjmoon on Reddit under Parents subreddit says that as a parent “I just have Life360 app installed on everybody’s smartphones in free mode.” Another user Mama_Mercredi adds that “GPS tracking on a minor’s phone is invasive at all and parents have a responsibility to know about the location and interactions her or his child is having.”

Regardless of the intended audience, I have tested each app rigorously to assess its real time location tracking performance, GPS accuracy, SOS response time, Geo-fencing capabilities and battery usage.

You should also note that special consideration was also given to the user experience on both android phones and iPhones. It’s one thing to have a powerful phone tracking app, but if it’s not user-friendly or compatible with your device, it’s practically useless. I also always check the usability and overall value of the app to make sure that parents are getting a reliable app and service that they can fully trust with no hesitance.

I have also covered family locator apps to track your kids and parental control apps which are also good for monitoring your children’s online activities. Parents can use physical gps tracker devices to track their kids and family members like Apple AirTag, Jiobit, Invoxia Cellular GPS, Garmin Bounce and more. 

Moreover, Smartwatches also have GPS tracking capabilities, kid’s Apple Watches, Kids Smartwatches, Women Smartwatches, LTE smartwatches and Fall-detection smartwatches all these devices are capable of real-time location tracking with or without Wi-Fi. 

To provide you with the most accurate and helpful information, I’ve meticulously downloaded and tested over 20+ apps on both my Android and iPhone devices. After thorough testing and analysis, I’ve handpicked the 9 best real-time location tracking apps you should consider. 

I’ve tested these apps for accuracy, reliability, and ease of usage to help parents, care-takers, family members or friends to keep track of their loved ones.

AppFeaturesSubscriptionSafety FeaturesUses for ParentsRatingsDownloads (est.)
Life360Family Locator, GPS TrackerYes, Premium PlansDriving Behavior AnalysisFamily Safety, Location Sharing4.5/5100M+
FamiSafeParental Control, Location FinderYes, Premium PlansGeofencing, App BlockingChild Safety, Screen Time4.6/55M+
Family360Location Sharing, Family SafetyYes, Premium PlansGeofencing, Panic AlertsFamily Coordination4.3/51M+
GlympseFast Location SharingYes, Premium PlansTemporary Sharing, PrivacyQuick Location Sharing4.2/510M+
Find My Friends by AppleReal-Time Location Sharing (Apple Ecosystem)FreeLocation Sharing PermissionsFriends and Family Connection4.7/5100M+
GPS Phone Tracker by NetpeakPrecise Phone Location TrackingYes, Premium PlansReal-Time MonitoringAccurate Location Tracking4.1/51M+
ZenlyReal-Time Friend LocatorYes, Premium PlansReal-Time Location SharingSocial Circles, Friendships4.4/510M+
GeoZilla – Find My FamilyFamily Location TrackingYes, Premium PlansGeofencing, Panic ButtonFamily Safety, Coordination4.5/515M+
iSharingReal-Time Location SharingYes, Premium PlansGeofencing, Driving ReportsLocation Sharing4.0/510M+

1. Best Real Time Location App for Family Safety

My Pick
Life360- Family Locator & GPS Tracker 

Life360: Family Locator & GPS Tracker 

This app ensures family safety with real-time tracking, alerts, and seamless communication in one reliable app.

  • Real-time Family Location Sharing
  • Driving Behavior Analysis for Safety
  • SOS Alerts for Emergency Assistance
  • Private Family Circle Communication
  • Location History and Geofence Alerts

Why Do I Recommend It?

Life360 is a popular family locator app that uses advanced location sharing technology to keep track of family members. The app offers a real-time location tracking feature, allowing you to see where your family members are. It provides location history, showing you where your family members have been throughout the day. 

2. Best For Parental Control and Location Tracking

My Pick
FamiSafe- Parental Control & Location Finder 

FamiSafe: Parental Control & Location Finder 

FamiSafe empowers parenting with comprehensive control, accurate location tracking, and secure communication for your child’s safety.

  • App Usage Monitoring and Blocking
  • Real-time Location Tracking and Geofencing
  • Suspicious Content and Harassment Detection
  • Screen Time Control and Scheduler
  • Inappropriate Content Filtering and Web History Tracking

Why Do I Recommend It?

FamiSafe is a comprehensive parental control app that helps you keep tabs on your kids’ whereabouts. The real-time location tracking feature ensures you can always find your kids when you need to. The app also includes a ‘find my kids’ feature, making it an ideal phone tracking app for parents. 

3. Best Real Time Location App for Android

My Pick


Stay connected and informed, sharing locations effortlessly while enjoying precise real-time tracking features.

  • Real-time Location Sharing Within Circles
  • Emergency Alerts and Panic Button
  • Geofence Notifications for Safe Zones
  • Location History and Timestamps
  • Group Messaging and Check-ins

Why Do I Recommend It?

This phone tracker app is designed to track the location of family members and friends. It is a powerful location tracker that provides real-time updates about the location of the phone. It is a tracking app for Android that also offers a location history feature, allowing you to see where the phone has been in the past.

4. Best For Quick Location Sharing (Free)

My Pick


Parents or Family Members can easily share dynamic, real-time location updates instantly with friends, ensuring hassle-free coordination and peace of mind.

  • Dynamic Real-time Location Sharing
  • Customizable Time-Limited Sharing
  • Quick and Secure Web Link Sharing
  • Real-time ETAs for Meetings
  • No App Installation Required for Recipients

Why Do I Recommend It?

This app allows you to share your location with anyone for a set amount of time. It’s great for letting someone know your ETA or keeping track of friends during a night out.

5. Best Real Time Location App for Social Circles

My Pick
Find My Friends for Apple Phones

Find My for Apple Phones

Strengthen friendships by easily staying connected and sharing locations in real time for memorable moments. Only works on Apple Devices.

  • Simple Real-time Friend Location Sharing
  • Privacy Controls for Location Sharing
  • Location-based Notifications
  • Temporary or Permanent Sharing Options
  • Integration with Apple Ecosystem

Why Do I Recommend It?

Find My is an app developed by Apple that allows you to track the location of your friends and family who also have an iPhone. It provides real-time location tracking and location sharing features. You can also set up notifications to get alerted when your friends or family members arrive or leave a specific location.

6. Best For Accurate Phone Location Tracking

My Pick
GPS Phone Tracker by Netpeak

GPS Phone Tracker by Netpeak

Parents can effortlessly track and manage phone locations for personal safety, business monitoring, or peace of mind.

  • ccurate Real-time Phone Location Tracking
  • Location History and Route Playback
  • Geofence Alerts and Location History
  • Battery-friendly Location Updates
  • Group Location Sharing and Messaging

Why Do I Recommend It?

GPS Phone Tracker is a real-time location tracking app that allows you to track the location of your family and friends. It provides features like location sharing, real-time location tracking, and location history. You can also set up geo-fencing alerts to get notified when your loved ones enter or leave a specific location. GPS Phone Tracker is available for both Android and iPhone.

7. Best Real Time Location App for Friendships

My Pick


Experience a fun and accurate way to stay close to friends with real-time location sharing.

  • Live Location Sharing with Friends
  • Customizable Emoji Status for Updates
  • Battery-efficient Location Tracking
  • Real-time ETA Sharing
  • Location History and Achievements

Why Do I Recommend It?

Zenly is a real-time location tracking app that allows you to track the location of your friends and family. It provides features like location sharing, real-time location tracking, and location history. You can also set up notifications to get alerted when your friends or family members arrive or leave a specific location. Zenly is available for both Android and iPhone.

8. Best For Keeping Family Connected

My Pick
GeoZilla – Unparalleled Family Location Tracking

GeoZilla – Unparalleled Family Location Tracking

Find My Family: Safeguard your family’s well-being by staying connected and tracking loved ones’ locations seamlessly.

    • Real-time Family Location Sharing
    • Geofence Alerts and Location History
    • Panic Button and SOS Alerts
    • Cross-platform Compatibility
    • Group Chats and Event Coordination

Why Do I Recommend It?

GeoZilla is a real-time location tracking app that allows you to track the location of your family and friends. It provides features like location sharing, real-time location tracking, and location history. You can also set up geofencing alerts to get notified when your loved ones enter or leave a specific location. GeoZilla is available for both Android and iPhone.

9. Best Real Time Location App for Shared Moments

My Pick


Create lasting memories by sharing real-time locations with friends and family, ensuring everyone’s safety.

  • Real-time Location Sharing and Tracking
  • Safety Check-ins and Panic Button
  • Location-based Group Messaging
  • Location History and Heatmaps
  • Private Circles for Friends and Family

Why Do I Recommend It?

iSharing is a real-time location tracking app that allows you to track the location of your family and friends. It provides features like location sharing, real-time location tracking, and location history. You can also set up geofencing alerts to get notified when your loved ones enter or leave a specific location. iSharing is available for both Android and iPhone.

The Benefits of Using Real Time Location Tracking for Your Family

From my experience, I appreciate the many benefits that these tracking apps can provide for your family, enhancing safety and promoting peace of mind. Here are some of the key benefits I discovered: 

1. Ensures Family Safety 

Real time location tracking gives you the ability to find out the location of your family members. Whether it’s tracking the location of your child on their way from school or checking if an elderly family member has reached home safely, these apps provide a significant safety net. 

2. Keeps Track of Location History 

One of the most beneficial features of these real time location tracking apps is the ability to keep track of location history. This feature can help you trace past movements, especially useful in case of emergencies. For example, an app like ‘Find My Kids’ keeps a log of all the places your child visits. 

3. Simplifies Finding Lost Phones 

Phone tracker apps are useful in case you misplace your phone. By enabling location sharing on your device, these apps allow you to track its location, substantially simplifying finding your lost Android phone or iPhone. 

4. Promotes Easy Coordination 

With live location sharing, coordinating plans with family members becomes much easier. Whether it’s a family outing or just ensuring that dinner is served hot when everyone gets home, knowing each other’s locations can simplify logistics. 

5. Encourages Accountability 

Lastly, these apps can instill a sense of responsibility and accountability in family members, especially children. Tracking children with tracking apps makes them more mindful of their actions and whereabouts. 

In conclusion, the benefits of real time location tracking apps extend beyond mere convenience. They can help to enhance the safety and wellbeing of your family.  

The Top Features to Look for in a Location Tracking App

When selecting a location tracking app, it’s crucial to consider the features it offers. These features can significantly improve your experience and provide the exact level of tracking you need. As a veteran in app testing, I’ve identified the top features you should look for in a real-time location tracking app. 

1. Real-Time Location Tracking 

The core feature of any location tracking app is the ability to provide real-time location tracking. This feature gives you live updates on the tracked device’s location, making it easy to monitor movements and ensure safety. Whether you’re a parent wanting to ‘find my kids’ or an individual wanting to keep tabs on your device, real-time location tracking is the feature you should insist on. 

2. Location History 

The location history feature is another critical capability. This allows you to review where the tracked device has been over a certain period. It’s useful for reviewing patterns of movement and identifying frequently visited locations. 

3. Geo-Fencing 

Geo-fencing is an advanced location tracking feature that allows you to set up virtual boundaries on the map. When the tracked device enters or leaves these zones, you’ll receive instant alerts. This feature is especially helpful for parents using ‘find my kids’ apps. 

4. Phone Location Sharing 

With the phone location sharing feature, you can share your location with selected contacts. This is ideal for coordinating with friends or letting loved ones know where you are. 

5. Compatibility with Android and iPhone 

Whether you’re an android phone user or an iPhone enthusiast, it’s essential that the tracking app supports your device. Always check for compatibility before downloading a phone tracker app. 

6. Stealth Mode 

Most phone tracker apps offer a stealth mode, letting the app run unnoticed on the tracked device. It’s a useful feature if you’re tracking your device or ensuring your kid’s safety without them knowing. 

7. Emergency Alert 

An emergency alert feature can send notifications if the tracked device is in an area of potential danger or if the device’s user presses an emergency button. It’s an important feature for those using tracking apps for safety purposes. 

In conclusion, these are the top 9 real-time location tracking apps that have stood out in terms of their features and overall performance.

Whether you’re a parent, wanting to keep an eye on your kids or someone who simply wants to keep track of your own location, these apps have got you covered. Do remember, no tool is perfect and choosing the right app will ultimately depend on your specific needs and circumstances.

All these real-time location apps also have great customer reviews and ratings on Apple App Stors and Google play store. I didn’t include apps with lower cumulative ratings of 4 stars as it shows the bad customer experience and low quality of an app.