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Desktop Finder app

The Desktop and Friend Finder app helps you quickly find a lab with free desktops. If you want to, you can share your location in the labs with friends, so you can find each other.


  • The app is currently Android only. (But iOS users, see below!)
  • It only works on eduroam wifi - not mobile data.
  • It's only for students with an account in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.


iOS users, we haven't forgotten you! If the Android version is popular enough, we'll develop an iOS version. For now, find a lab with free desktops using this URL (only on eduroam):

Add the page to your iPhone by visiting it in mobile Safari, then using the "share" button and clicking "Add to Home Screen" - like this:

    Choose the 'share' option' from the Mobile Safari toolbar Choose 'add to home screen' from the context menu

You're welcome to access the raw data and the API:


Android users, you can get the app from the Google Play Store using this link or QR code:

Once it's downloaded, install it, then open it.

How to use

First, connect to eduroam.

Then open the app. It will show a list of labs containing DICE desktops, ordered so that labs with the most available free desktops are shown first. The listing includes the lab name and the number of free desktops.

The list refreshes automatically every minute, but you can manually refresh by swiping down. Note that the app does not have access to the lab room bookings (when labs are used for tutorials for example), so although a lab may be shown with available desktops, they will not actually be available if the lab is currently booked for use by a specific course or group.


Touching the "friends" icon at the top right of the toolbar will show you the friends setup screen. To use this screen you need to register - just authenticate with your DICE username and password. You only need to authenticate once - after this you will be automatically registered until you uninstall the app.

Once registered, you can opt in to tracking. This records centrally which DICE desktop you are currently logged into, and means your friends can find you. You can opt in and out at any point to enable and disable discovery. This does not alter any friends configuration.

Note that if you have opted in to tracking it is in principle possible for yourself or for any of your friends to track the login activity of your group of friends (those which have opted in to tracking) as one single group (i.e. not individually). If this is a concern for you we suggest you do not opt in to tracking, or if you have done that you opt out temporarily or permanently as appropriate.

If you have lost your mobile phone and have used this app to associate friends, irrespective of whether you have opted in to tracking or not, you should inform computing support as soon as possible so that the authentication token associated with your phone can be revoked to prevent anyone from impersonating you.

The app shows a list of your associated friends.

Inviting new friends

  • To invite someone to be your friend enter their UUN in the search box. They will show on the list as an INVITE.
  • Revoke the invitation by swiping the entry left.
  • If an INVITE entry does not appear on the list, try entering the UUN again in case you mistyped it.
  • An invite may also not appear if the invited user is currently opted out.

Accepting new friends

  • If someone else has invited you to be their friend, this will show on the list as ACCEPT.
  • To accept the invitation, touch and hold that entry.
  • Reject the invitation by swiping the entry left.

Current friends

  • Other entries on the list will be your associated friends.
  • To remove an association, swipe the entry left.
  • Assuming you and your friends are opted in, when any of your associated friends are currently logged into a DICE desktop, FRIENDS will show beside the relevant lab entries in the main screen.
  • The list of friend associations refreshes automatically every minute when the screen is open.
  • You can manually refresh at any time by swiping the list down.

API and documentation

You can access the raw data here:

You're welcome to use Desktop Finder's API. The technical documentation is here:

Privacy details

What data do we hold on you, and where from, and what do we do with it? Find out at:

Last reviewed: 

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