find my

This fall, Apple says goodbye to Find My iPhone and Find My Friends and hello to Find My. The all-in-one solution lets you locate your most important contacts and devices on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Here's how Apple describes the new app:

Two apps in one. Find My iPhone and Find My Friends are now combined in a single, easy‑to‑use app to help you locate the people and devices that are important to you.

What's new?

Find My looks a lot like the existing iOS apps -- at least as it was presented during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019 keynote. It includes a tab for People and one for Devices. On each page, there's a map showing the current location of your friends and devices, respectively.

How do you find people in the app?

When tapping on a contact under People, you'll find buttons for Contact and Directions. Tap the first button to find the person in the Contacts app; select the second, and the Apple Maps opens with directions to the person. You can also customize how you and your contact are alerted when there's a location change.

For example, you can customize Find My to send you an alert each time your teenager leaves or arrives at home, school, or any other location. You can also alert your contact whenever you change locations using the same tool.

What about devices?

Meanwhile, under Devices you'll find buttons to Play Sound, Directions, and Mark As Lost. You can also Erase This Device in the event it's lost or stolen.

find my encryption

What happens when one of my devices is missing?

Are you looking for more? If any of your devices go missing, other Apple users can help you find them automatically. In this case, your device's Bluetooth signal will be detected by another users' device, with the location making its way back to the Find My... app on one of your other devices. All this happens in the background anonymously with end-to-end encryption.

In a post for Wired, Apple explains how this works:

When you first set up Find My on your Apple devices—and Apple confirmed you do need at least two devices for this feature to work—it generates an unguessable private key that's shared on all those devices via end-to-end encrypted communication, so that only those machines possess the key.

Further:

Each device also generates a public key. As in other public key encryption setups, this public key can be used to encrypt data such that no one can decrypt it without the corresponding private key, in this case the one stored on all your Apple devices. This is the "beacon" that your devices will broadcast out via Bluetooth to nearby devices.

When is the Find My app going to be available?

The Find My app arrives on iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina this fall. Until then, it's being beta tested by developers.

Makes sense, no?

Find My iPhone and Find My Friends have always offered similar tools so merging them into one app makes sense. It will be interesting to see how the app develops during the beta process this summer. Are you looking forward to using Find My? Do you have any concerns? You know what to do below.

Updated June 6, 2019: Added quotes from Wired.