Footprints - User Guide

  • Getting Started

    Register and Grant Permissions

    To start sharing locations with family and friends you need to do three things:

    1. Install Footprints, and Register to create an Account.

    2. Grant Permissions to those who can track your location.

    3. Ask others to install Footprints on their iOS device and grant you a Permission from their device so you can track them.

    On first launch you have an opportunity to quickly register and grant permissions from the Welcome screen. You can also register from Settings > Account, and grant permissions from Settings > Permissions.

    When installing Footprints on your kids' phones it's important to register them with their own unique email address that is different than your email address. Then grant a permission to yourself on their phone. Refer to the Account section of the user guide to learn about accounts, registration and subscriptions, and the Permissions section to learn about granting permissions.

    Once you have Footprints set up, you can activate additional features such as Notifications that alert you when others move or cross Geo-Fences, Parental Controls to restrict kids access to Footprints, and customize the Footprints tracker.

  • Account

    Registration and Subscription

    Registration is required to share locations with others or to see locations that others are sharing with you.

    Each person should register with their own email address. When registering your kids devices, be sure to register them with their own unique email address. But when registering your additional devices, for example, registering both your iPhone and iPad, use the same email address to register all your devices. Then Footprints can keep them all in sync and share your subscription and permissions among all of your devices.

    Your email address and phone number are used to match you up with others. Since Footprints looks up people in the Address Book by email address and phone number, it's important that you register your primary email and phone number as it appears in the Address Book of your friends. If you register fake information, Footprints will not be able to match you up with your friends.

    You must register an email address. You should also register your phone number just in case your email address does not appear in the Address Book of your friends. A phone number can only be registered by one device.

    Once you register, you’ll receive an email with a verification code. Enter this code to validate and complete your registration.

    Sharing Locations with family and friends requires a subscription. Subscriptions can be purchased at any time and are added to your existing subscription.

    Subscriptions are restored on all the devices that you registered with the same email address. Devices that you registered with different email addresses, which have different account numbers, require a separate subscription.

    Privacy Policy: Complete privacy is a key feature of Footprints. Your location data is only shared with the people you explicitly grant permission to see your location. Your registration information is never used to contact you, never sold to others, and never used for advertising.

  • Permissions

    Grant Permission to Track You

    Footprints enforces a strict privacy policy: no one can see your location unless you have granted them a specific permission to track you.

    From the Permissions view you can grant permissions to those who can track your current and prior locations. A permission is granted to a specific person and can be set to expire after some time, or it can be set to never expire. A permission also specifies how many prior waypoints you wish share. To share only your current location select 'Last waypoint only'.

    Parents setting up their kids phones should grant a permission to themselves from the child's phone.

    To stop sharing locations with someone simply delete their permission.

    Footprints matches permissions with friends by their registered email address and phone number. If you grant a permission to someone, but they cannot see you on their Footprints, make sure that the email address they registered with appears in your address book under their contact record. Then add the permission again.

    If a friend stops seeing your movements on their Footprints, check that your permission to them has not expired. Also make sure that your Footprints subscription has not expired.

  • Notifications

    Geo-Fences, Movement and Speeding Alerts

    Footprints can send you notifications when your friends move, speed or cross geo-fences, even when Footprints itself is not running.

    Three types of notifications can be set: Movement notifications, which alerts you when a friend starts or stops moving, Geo-Fence crossings notifications, which alert when friends enter or leave a predefined fence area (such as your kids school area) and Speeding notifications, which alert you when someone is moving faster than a predefined speed limit.

    To set up a notification choose the notification type, Movement, Geo-Fence or Speeding, select a friend to monitor, and activate sensors that will trigger a notification.

    Movement notifications offer three types of sensors:

    - Movement Starts: notifies each time the friend starts to move, after at least 15 minutes of no movement.

    - Movement Stops: notifies when the friend stops moving, and movement has not resumed for at least 15 minutes. This notification is delayed for 15 minutes after the last waypoint is logged to ensure that the person has indeed stopped moving.

    - Next Waypoint: notifies the next time your friend has shared a new waypoint. This sensor triggers only once, and must be set again after each notification. This sensor offers a convenient way to be alerted when a friend leaves the location they are currently at.

    Geo-Fence crossing notifications offer two types of sensors:

    - Arrive: notifies you when a friend arrives at the fence and crosses into the fence perimeter area.

    - Leave: notifies when a friend exits the fence perimeter area. This sensor can be useful, for example, when you wish to be alerted when your kids move a significant distance from their school area.

    Before Geo-Fence notifications can be activated, you must first define your fence areas by selecting 'Add a Fence'. Once at least one fence has been created, you can then add Geo-Fence crossing notifications.

    Speeding notifications offer a single sensor:

    - Speed Limit: notifies each time the friend moves faster than the Speed Limit you assign.

    Note that not all waypoints include a speed value, since the GPS hardware doesn't always provide a speed measurement with shorts pulses of the GPS. This is especially true with older devices such as the iPhone 3GS.

    Notifications can be turned on and off at any time. When you wish to suspend notifications, it's recommended that you turn off notifications from Footprints so the server stops sending notifications to your device. When you turn off notifications for the device (from the device Settings -> Notifications) without first turning off notifications in Footprints, the server will continue sending notifications and your device will have to reject them.

    When you have registered Footprints on multiple devices (having the same Account number on each device), notifications will be sent to all your devices that have the notifications setting turned on.

  • Parental Control

    Limiting Access and Features

    Parental Control allows parents to limit their children's access to Footprints. Once enabled, the following features will require a passcode:

    Launch App: This setting will require the passcode to be entered each time the app is accessed. Without the passcode, Footprints will not launch or show the user interface. Footprints will, however, continue to track and share locations in the background.

    Settings: A passcode will be required to access or change the Footprints Settings. Enable this settings to allow your child to access Footprints and see their Friends, but not to change any Settings.

    Permissions: A passcode will be required to access or change Permissions.

    Your passcode is securely stored in the device keychain where it can only be accessed by Footprints. It cannot be recovered by the Footprints support staff, so please remember the passcode you set.

    A forgotten passcode can, however, be reset. After 12 incorrect passcode attempts a 'Forgot' button will appear, which will allow you (or your child) to request a Passcode Reset.

    To prevent kids from easily disabling Parental Controls, the passcode reset sequence will send an email with a new passcode to the parent's email address. It is therefore important that you enter your own email address under "Parent's Email Address" so that the new passcode is sent to you and not to the registered email address (which may be your child's email address). This way, even if your child initiates a Passcode Reset, the new passcode will be emailed to you and not to your child.

    Once you have received the new passcode by email enter it to unlock Footprints. You may now set a new passcode.

  • Tracking Methods

    Background Location Tracking

    Footprints offers two ways to track locations in the background:

    1. Significant Location Changes

    This method updates your location changes as your device detects new cellular towers. This will generally occur once you move about 500 meters to 3 km (a quarter-mile to 2 miles), depending on the cellular coverage in the area. When a Location Change is detected, Footprints Pulses on the GPS for a short time to acquire a more accurate location. This method provides a good balance of timely updates and battery life. So it’s the recommended method.

    2. Pulse GPS Every 5 or 10 Minutes

    This method turns on the GPS hardware every 5 or 10 minutes to check your location. It should be used when frequent location updates are important. But this method consumes a lot of battery power. The GPS hardware is turned on every few minutes, whether you move or not, and Footprints remains running in the background without ever being suspended. As a result, this method should only be used for short periods.

    Note: Footprints automatically Pulses the GPS when the app is brought to the foreground after it’s been idle for more than 30 minutes.

  • Tracker Accuracy

    Tracker Accuracy vs. Battery Usage

    The tracker settings control the accuracy of the GPS readings and the frequency at which waypoints are logged.

    The default settings provide a good balance of timely waypoints with fine accuracy while conserving battery usage. So it's best to leave the default settings as they are.

    If you wish to personalize the settings, the following options are provided:


    The battery section shows the estimated battery usage for the current settings. As you change each setting, the battery usage estimate changes to reflect the new setting.

    GPS Settings

    Tracking Method: You can choose between the Significant Location Changes method, which is battery efficient, and the continuous GPS-pulsing method, which provides ultimate accuracy but drains the battery much more quickly. See additional information in the Tracking Method selection.

    GPS Pulse: This is the duration the GPS hardware is turned on to acquire a fix on your location. A longer pulse provides better accuracy and speed readings but consumes more battery power. A 30- or 40-second pulse generally provides good accuracy of 10 to 30 meters (30 to 100 feet). Longer pulses may be required inside buildings or when cellular reception is not available. Since the GPS hardware can consume a lot of battery power, it's best to keep it turned on as little as possible.

    Sufficient Accuracy: Once the desired accuracy is reached, the GPS turns off automatically, even before the pulse expires. In general, the better the desired accuracy, the longer the GPS is on and the more battery it consumes.

    Note: Tracking in areas with poor cellular coverage will decrease the location accuracy and may require much longer GPS pulses to acquire accurate readings (1 to 3 minutes). Devices without a GPS (iPad Wi-Fi and iPod touch) do not track in the background, but they may acquire locations when connected to a Wi-Fi network.

    Waypoint Limits

    Auto-Sensing: To conserve battery usage during long commutes, when many waypoints are logged, the Auto-Sensing feature detects continuous motion and reduces the number of logged waypoints. On the other hand, shorter commutes log waypoints more frequently. After 30 to 45 minutes of movement, waypoints are logged approximately every 10 minutes. This is the recommended setting.

    Logging Interval: When Auto-Sensing is turned off, waypoints are logged at intervals of no less than this setting. Lower intervals use more battery power, especially on long commutes. Settings of over 10 minutes are not guaranteed to log on time.

    Sharing Interval: When Auto-Sensing is turned off, logged waypoints are shared at intervals of no less than this setting. Use this setting to share waypoints less frequently than they are logged. Settings over 10 minutes are not guaranteed to share the last logged waypoint on time.

    Minimum Movement: This feature filters out waypoints that are very close to the prior waypoint. Since GPS readings are not perfectly accurate, two pulses from the same location may return readings a few meters or yards from each other. To avoid duplicate waypoints, new readings not farther than prior waypoint by at least the minimum movement are ignored.

    Reset: Restores all tracker settings to their original factory settings.