How to get Android notifications when friends are nearby

You may be trying to find a friend at a crowded plaza or curious to know when the boss is nearby, but there's an easier way to do it than just keeping watch and hoping for the best. Your Bluetooth-enabled device can tag and watch for other Bluetooth devices for you. Learn how to do it in this blog post by Rob Lightner.

Rob Lightner
Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.
Rob Lightner

The price of liberty may be eternal vigilance, but sometimes you just want to zone out. Maybe you want to play Farmville while the boss is out, maybe you want to know when that friend who owes you money is nearby, or maybe you just like to keep your friends close. In any case, you can use the free ToothTag app to keep track of Bluetooth-enabled devices and receive notifications when they come close. Here's how to do it:

  1. Install the ToothTag app from the Android Market.
  2. The next time you're near someone you want to keep track of, start up the ToothTag app and check to see if their Bluetooth signal is listed. If not, click "+" on the upper right to rescan. (Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your device.) If your friend--or whomever--doesn't have a Bluetooth device enabled, you're out of luck.
  3. ToothTag signals screen
    Step 2: Choose your friend's signal.
  4. Select the signal name to bring up rules options, then select "within range" to tell ToothTag what to do when it detects this signal coming nearby.
  5. Toothtag tagging screen
    Step 3: Apply rules
  6. Though several options appear, most likely you're either going to want to pick "play music" or "vibrate." If you want your friend's theme song to play when they approach, just select a track stored on your phone (or a ringtone, but some may find that too confusing); if not, you'll get a pleasant buzz when they show up.
  7. ToothTag rules screen
    Step 4: Assign rules.