As the bridge between basic principles and applications of nanotechnology, nanofabrication methods play significant role in supporting the development of nanoscale science and engineering, which is changing and improving the production and lifestyle of the human. Photo lithography and other alternative technologies, such as nanoimprinting, electron beam lithography, focused ion beam cutting, and scanning probe lithography, have brought great progress of semiconductor industry, IC manufacturing and micro/nanoelectromechanical system (MEMS/NEMS) devices. However, there remains a lot of challenges, relating to the resolution, cost, speed, and so on, in realizing high-quality products with further development of nanotechnology. None of the existing techniques can satisfy all the needs in nanoscience and nanotechnology at the same time, and it is essential to explore new nanofabrication methods. As a newly developed scanning probe microscope (SPM)-based lithography, friction-induced nanofabrication provides opportunities for maskless, flexible, low-damage, low-cost and environment-friendly processing on a wide variety of materials, including silicon, quartz, glass surfaces, and so on. It has been proved that this fabrication route provides with a broad application prospect in the fabrication of nanoimprint templates, microfluidic devices, and micro/nano optical structures. This paper hereby involved the principals and operations of friction-induced nanofabrication, including friction-induced selective etching, and the applications were reviewed as well for looking ahead at opportunities and challenges with nanotechnology development. The present review will not only enrich the knowledge in nanotribology, but also plays a positive role in promoting SPM-based nanofabrication.