Ukuphi App

Ukuphi is an app that allows people to find your location without you having to reply. (If you care, “ukuphi” is Zulu for “where are you?”)

Simply switch it on, and people will be able to text you a specific message that triggers an automatic response. You can set it to reply to just contacts or to any number, but it will only ever respond if you’re sent a text message which exactly matches your configured trigger, which you can change at any time.


So if, for instance, you’re on a long cycle ride, friends and relatives can simply text you and receive a message containing the following details…

  • your location (including street name, town name, postcode etc)
  • the time at which the location was recorded
  • a link to Google maps showing your exact position

…all without you even having to notice that you’ve received a message, let alone having to type a reply.

If a GPS signal can’t be obtained then Ukuphi will look for the last recorded location; if it was within the last hour, it’ll send that; otherwise it will simply reply asking the sender to try again later. If a GPS signal is obtained but the Internet can’t be accessed, the response won’t include the street name, postcode etc, but it will contain the time and Google maps link.

You can easily switch Ukuphi off by selecting “Reply to no-one”. To turn it back on, simply select “Reply to contacts” or “Reply to anyone”.

Alpha version

At this stage, Ukuphi is an Alpha version. You will need to download the .apk file to your phone, and you will need to have changed your settings to allow applications from non-Google Play sources. This you do at your own risk.

You will also need an unlock code. On first starting the application you will see a screen with a keycode in it. You need to send this keycode to me: I can generate an unlock code which I can send to you. Simply enter this code into the screen and press the “Unlock” button and you’re away.

At this stage, unlock codes are available by invitation only.

Alpha 2

Initial alpha. No longer available.

Alpha 6

Changes in this version:

  • Added logging: tap “Show Log” from the settings screen to view replies.
  • Hopefully fixed “Respond to contacts” mode.
  • When Ukuphi is active there is now a permanent, low-priority notification.
  • Added network location as fallback.
  • Removed irrelevant number “1” from response notifications.

You can download the .apk file here.