Does my son/daughter know I’m using Find My iPhone to track them?

Wondering if your son or daughter will find out that you are looking them up on Find my iPhone? Here’s everything you need to know.

Does Find My iPhone send an alert when my son or daughter is tracked? When I use Find My iPhone to locate my son or daughter’s phone, do they know I am checking or tracking them? This is a common question that I get from many parents all the time.

The answer to that question is that “it depends”. Let’s see in detail.

Find My Phone Tracking Kids


I get it, you want your kids to be safe. You want to know where they are all the time so that you can be sure that they are safe. It brings a certain sense of peace to know where your kids are at any given point of time.


Privacy is for everyone.

It would be great if you could let your kids know in advance that you have enabled Find My iPhone so that you can keep an eye on their whereabouts.

Also, don’t get obsessive with checking where they are. Let them know you’d be able to track them and also do it occasionally only when needed.

Be a responsible parent.

With default settings

If your son or daughter has not tinkered around much with settings to enable a certain setting, then they will not be able to come to know that you are tracking them.

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Again, it also depends on how much they are paying attention to the things on their iPhone.

It’s not like iPhone or Find My iPhone app will send a notification stating that they are being tracked. No. That is not happening. But Apple has built the iPhone around privacy and it has its own way of making the user aware of what is going on in their phone.

We shall see more about it in the upcoming sections.

With status bar icon setting turned on

Remember how I talked about Apple having its own way to let the users know when are tracked.

So, here’s how it works. If your son or daughter has turned a particular setting, they might be able to. Here’s where to look for it:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap in Location Services.
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on System Services.
  5. Again, scroll all the way to the bottom and see if Status Bar Icon is enabled.

The setting is so deeply buried and most people don’t bother to look for this. And this setting is not enabled by default.

According to Apple, here’s what happens when that setting is enabled:

Show the Location Services icon in the status bar when the services above request your location.


So, when the above setting is enabled, and when you try to locate your son or daughter’s iPhone, Find My iPhone will try to get their phone location to send it to you. And when that happens, the iPhone will show the location indicator on the top of the phone the status bar.

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Here’s what it looks like:

iPhone Location Services Status Bar

This only shows up for a brief period of time (say, a few seconds) while the location is being tracked. Not before or after that happens.

So, unless your kid is paying real close attention to what is happening to their device, even this might go unnoticed.

From the Location Services Settings

There is another way your son or daughter can still get to know the if Find My iPhone had been recently used on their device.

That is correct. Again, this will not show up in the notifications or homescreen or anywhere. One has to go into the settings looking for it.

Here’s where to find it:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap in Location Services.
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on System Services.

Here, you will see multiple services listed including Find My iPhone. Here’s, right near the buttons, the location services indicator will appear. The location indicator arrow will either be hollow, purple, or grey. And here’s how to make sense of it:

Hollow Arrow: Indicates that an item may receive your location under certain conditions.

Purple Arrow: Indicates that an item has recently used your location.

Grey Arrow: Indicates that an item has used your location in the last 24 hours.

And when you track your son or daughter using Find My iPhone, here’s how this screen will look like:

Track Son Daughter Find My Phone 9

A Purple Arrow will appear right next to the Find My iPhone which means it tracked the location of the iPhone recently.

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Jailbroken iPhones

If your child is rocking’ a jailbroken iPhone, then it goes without saying that there are plenty of tweaks, apps, and mods out there that will make detecting Find My iPhone a piece of cake.

In a jailbroken iPhone, they don’t even have to go through the headache of all the above settings. The jailbreak tweaks will do all the work and show everything very clearly.

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