Whether you are visiting a friend for the first time or meeting up with a family member in the city, a little navigational help might prove useful. Sometimes you want to go further than sharing a specific spot and need to share your position with someone for an extended period of time. Well, there are several easy ways to share your location using your smartphone. Here's how.
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Table of Contents
- How to Share Your Location Using Google Maps (Android or iOS)
- How to Share Your Location Using Find My (iOS)
- How to Share Your Location Using Facebook Messenger (Android or iOS)
- How to Share Your Location Using WhatsApp (Android or iOS)
- How to Use Emergency SOS on an iPhone
- How to Use Emergency Sharing on Android
How to Share Your Location Using Google Maps
There is an advantage to Google tracking you through your phone: It’s easy to share your location with friends and family, especially since it's the most popular mapping app in the world. There’s a simple method built into Google Maps, and it works on both Android and iOS devices.
- Open the Google Maps app (Android, iOS).
- Tap your profile picture or initials at the top right. Sign in to your Google account if you haven’t already.
- Tap Location sharing and Share location.
- Select how long you want to share your location.
- Choose the people you want to share your location with (you may have to give Google Maps access to your contacts here). You can share your location with anyone in your contacts, provided you have added their Gmail address. You can also share your location directly with specific apps.
- If you want to share with someone who doesn’t have a Google account, tap Copy to clipboard on Android and paste the link into an email or message. On an iPhone, you can tap More options to send the link via iMessage or a different app.
You can review the list of people you are sharing your location with on that same Location sharing tab, and you will see their profile picture on the map if they are also sharing their location with you. To stop sharing or to get directions to their location, tap on the profile picture or their name listed at the bottom.
How to Share Your Location Using Find My
If you and the people you want to share your location with are using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, then the Find My app is the easiest way to do it. Here’s how:
- Open the Find My app and choose the People tab.
- Select Start Sharing Location.
- Enter the name or number of the person you want to share your location with and tap Send.
- Select how for long you want to share your location, and tap OK.
You can stop sharing your location on the same People tab by tapping on the relevant person and choosing Stop Sharing My Location. You can quickly stop sharing with everyone by selecting the Me tab and turning off Share My Location.
How to Share Your Location Using Facebook Messenger
If you are already chatting to the person or group you want to send your location to in Facebook's popular Messenger app, then you can share your location right there without exiting it. This works on Android and iOS.
- Open Messenger and select the relevant conversation with the person or people you want to share your location with.
- Tap the Location icon (arrow) or tap the icon with the four dots to find the Location option.
- You may be prompted to grant the Messenger app location privileges.
- On the map, tap the blue bar that says Share Live Location. If you’d rather share a static point, tap the red pin at the top right of the map and search for a place to share or drag and drop a pin on the map.
- When you choose to share your live location, it is shared for one hour, and you will see the option to Stop Sharing with a countdown clock next to it.
How to Share Your Location Using WhatsApp
If the person or people you want to share with use WhatsApp, it’s easy to share your location with them. This is available on both Android and iOS.
- Open WhatsApp and select the Chats tab.
- Choose the person or group you want to share with.
- On an iPhone, tap the plus icon at the bottom left. On an Android phone, tap the paperclip icon at the bottom right.
- Choose Location.
- Click Send Your Current Location for a snapshot of where you are now, or Share Live Location to share your real-time position as you move around for the period you specify (from 15 minutes up to 8 hours).
How to Use Emergency SOS on an iPhone
Apple's iPhone has a feature called Emergency SOS. When triggered, it sends a text message and shares your location with your emergency contacts.
- Start by opening the Health app and tapping your profile picture, then Medical ID, Edit, and scroll to Emergency Contacts. Tap the plus icon to add emergency contacts.
- To activate Emergency SOS, hold down the power button and one of the volume buttons, or if you're using an iPhone 7 or older, rapidly press the power button five times.
- Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services. This will also trigger the text message and location sharing with your emergency contacts.
It might be a good idea to try this when you set it up (and give your emergency contacts a heads-up) so you know exactly how it works.
How to Use Emergency Sharing on Android
Unfortunately, the emergency options for sharing your location differ from manufacturer to manufacturer with Android phones. You can usually hold down the power button to access emergency information or an emergency mode.
On most Android phones:
- Go to Settings, Location, and make sure that Emergency Location Service is toggled on. Where supported, this will share your location with emergency services when you call or text an emergency number.
- Go to Settings, About phone, and tap Emergency information. You can add Emergency contacts here. On some devices, you can also tap Status updates under Emergency Sharing to automatically share your location in certain circumstances, such as when you start and end an emergency call.
Samsung phones offer something called SOS Messages. Here's how to set it up:
- Go to Settings, Advanced features, and choose SOS messages.
- Toggle it on, read the information, and tap Continue.
- Tap Start, and either Create contact or Select from contacts to add people.
- Tap Back and you can choose how to trigger SOS messages and decide whether they should include photos or audio recordings.
- When you trigger SOS messages by tapping the Power key four times rapidly or whatever method you chose, it will send an SOS message to your chosen contacts with your location. If you move, the location will update every 30 minutes for the next 24 hours.
Google Pixel phones have an Emergency SOS function enabled in the Personal Safety app. Here's how to use it:
- Go to Settings, Safety & Emergency, Emergency SOS, and choose Start setup. You can also find the Personal Safety app in your app drawer. Tap the gear icon at the top left and find Emergency SOS.
- Choose whether or not you want the phone to play a loud sound when you trigger Emergency SOS.
- Tap Start and then Next to let the phone dial emergency services. Tap Turn on to enable Assisted Calling, which will share your location and emergency details with emergency services if you're unable to respond.
- Then you'll need to set up location sharing with emergency contacts. Tap Start setup and then Add contacts to add people you want as your emergency contacts. Tap Next, and then tap Go to Maps to enable location sharing in Google Maps. The app will need access to your location “all the time” for this to work, so you'll need to grant this by heading to Settings, Location, App location permissions, Google Maps, and tap Allow all the time.
- Head back to the Personal Safety app, and you can find the last option to set up Record emergency video. The Pixel will automatically start recording video when Emergency SOS is triggered. Toggle it on and grant the app permission to record. You can toggle an Auto share function, which will share the video with your emergency contacts after it's backed up.
Remember to check who you are sharing your location with every now and then. If you're sharing your location regularly for safety reasons, you might want to read our guide, The Best Personal Safety Devices, Apps, and Alarms.