Apple is reportedly working to make it easier for people to find things, including their phone, other items and even friends. To do this, the company is reportedly integrating its Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into a single app. The new app, code-named “GreenTorch,” is reportedly being tested by Apple. Once ready, the GreenTouch app will be available for both iOS and macOS.
GreenTorch app is a mix of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends
Apple’s new app will retain all the features of the individual apps and some improvements, according to 9to5Mac. For instance, the new app will reportedly allow users to find their iPhone even when it is not connected to Wi-Fi. The GreenTorch app will also allow users to share their location and create notifications for when they arrive or leave a particular location.
The new app will also help track other Apple devices, including AirPods. Users will also have the option to put the device in “lost mode,” which will play a sound on it similar to how Find My iPhone works. In other words, once an item is put in lost mode, users will be alerted when it’s found.
Users will also be able to save their contact details to the tag. The saved details will appear on the Apple device when it is in lost mode. Tracking is done using a crowd-sourced network, including the use of every Apple device whose owner has opted for the same tracking service.
A massive crowd-sourced network is a crucial advantage of Tile, which makes devices that help users find items such as backpacks, keys and other items.
Tracker for other items
Apple is also reportedly working on a “hardware product” for tracking other items and not just Apple devices. Such trackers will be linked to the user’s iCloud account by proximity. These trackers or tags would work similarly to the Bluetooth trackers made by Tile. That means if an iPhone gets too far from the tagged items, it automatically triggers a notification.
Users will also be able to exclude certain locations such as their home and even put notifications on hold for some time. Moreover, tag locations can be shared with friends and family. Friends can also create location-sharing requests. In such a case, the user will get a notification when the friend who shared their location arrives or leaves a particular location.
As of now there is no word on when this new unified app will be launched. We may hear more about the GreenTorch app at Apple’s software-focused WWDC event, which is scheduled to take place in June. 9to5Mac notes that the unified app could be launched alongside the new iPhones in September.
Apple’s GreenTorch app could have the potential to eat into Tile’s market share and create a new revenue source for the iPhone maker. Tile so far has sold about 24 million devices, and its trackers have a success rate of 90%, notes TechCrunch.
Such location tracking technologies are useful, but they also trigger privacy issues. There are ongoing debates over the privacy concerns such technology poses. For example, Facebook can track you even if you deactivate your account. Law enforcement actively uses Google’s Sensorvault database for the location of phones around the world, according to The New York Times.
Restructuring other major apps
The report about Apple unifying its Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps comes at a time when the company is planning to restructure its other major apps as well. 9to5Mac reported recently that Apple plans to break up iTunes into separate music, podcast and TV apps.
Apple’s standalone Music app could offer a home for Apple Music, while the Podcasts app will be exclusively for podcasts. The TV app would house the upcoming Apple TV Plus service. Apple is also apparently revamping its Books app. macOS already has a separate app for books. The revamped app will bring the iOS app more in line with the macOS app.
These new apps will be based on Apple’s Project Marzipan. The objective of the project is to help developers easily port iOS apps to macOS by allowing both platforms to share a common codebase.