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How to share your location on iPhone (and do it safely)

Beyond just meeting up with friends, sharing your iPhone’s location can help you find your phone if you lose it. It can also help keep you safe in potentially dangerous situations, like when meeting a seller from an online marketplace. Plus, with many parents sending their kids off to college for the first time this fall, using it the right way can be an option to help put minds at ease this back to school season.

The best feature about sharing your location is that nobody can view it without your permission. This means that someone else won’t have access to your location unless you supply them that access. 

Even when you do share your location with someone, you can stop sharing it at any time in your iPhone’s settings, another great reason to learn how to do this.

Also: The 8 best iPhone models: Which is right for you?

How to share your location on iPhone

Shot of a young couple using GPS on their mobile phone during a road trip.

Image: Dean Mitchell via Getty Images

Before you share your location, you have to enable location services, something that many people keep disabled for privacy reasons. To turn on Location Services, go to your iPhone’s Settings, select Privacy, and tap on Location Services, you can toggle it on and off on this page. 

Also: Cybersecurity 101: Protect your privacy from hackers, spies, and the government

Before you can actually share your location with others, you need to give your phone permission to do so. Go to Settings, tap on Apple ID or your name at the top of the screen, then Find My. Toggle Share My Location to the On position.

Enable your location sharing.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

You have to enable Share My Location in your Settings before sharing it with others through an app like Find My or others.

Make sure the Share My Location switch is in the On position.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Open the Find My application.

If, for some ironic reason, you can’t find it easily, simply go to your App Library by swiping right on your home screen, and type in Find My on the search bar.

Open Find My app.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

From the bottom of the screen within the Find My app, choose People to open this tab.

Select the People tab.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Tap on the + (plus) sign to see what options you have for location sharing. Select Share My Location.

Tap on the plus sign to see options.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

If you’re sharing your location with someone in your contacts list, simply enter their name to search for them. Otherwise, enter their phone number to send them your location.

Once you select someone, press Send.

Enter the name or phone number of the other party.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Select which option of time best suits your needs. You can choose from sharing your location with the other person for one hour, through the end of the day, or indefinitely.

Select how long to share location

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Other ways to share your location on iPhone

Although Find My can be the best fit for many reasons when you want to share your location with someone else, there are a few other ways to share your location from your iPhone that may be more appropriate for different situations. Sharing your location is also available through Family Sharing, with a specific contact, via Whatsapp, or with Google Maps.

Step 1: Open your contacts list

You can view your contacts either through the Phone app or through the Contacts app.

Step 2: Choose the contact and select Share My Location

Choose the contact you want to share your location with from your contact book. Once you tap on their name to view the contact card, scroll down until you see Share My Location. 

After following these steps, you’ll have the option to choose the length of time you’d like to share your location with them, like in the previous method.

If you use Family Sharing for things like Apple TV+ subscriptions, iCloud, etc, then you likely already have family members added to your account. Here’s how you can share your location with your family members.

Step 1: Go to Settings and tap on your name

To access Family Sharing, go to your iPhone’s Settings, then tap on your name at the top of the screen. 

Step 2: Choose Family Sharing

Select Family Sharing from the available options.

Step 3: Location Sharing

You should see all the Family Sharing settings on this page. Choose Location Sharing from the list of options.

Step 4: Turn on Share My Location

Once you tap on Location Sharing, the next page will come up where you can select Share My Location by toggling it on. 

Step 5: Let your family members know

Now that you’ve enabled location sharing with your family members, your iPhone will give you the option to let them know via text. This will send your family a text with your location information.

Also: Apple’s iCloud Shared Photo Library auto-shares your photos with family

Step 1: Open the Whatsapp chat

Find the chat you want to share your location in. If you don’t have a chat open with the person you’re looking to send your location to, simply start a new chat. 

Step 2: Tap on + sign and choose Share Location

Tap on the + (plus) sign in the chat to open a menu of actions you can use within the chat. Select Share My Location.

If you want to check if you are currently sharing your location with anyone on Whatsapp, you can check the Settings within the Whatsapp app and choosing Privacy. This will show you a list of contacts you’re currently sharing your location with.

Also: Need to delete that embarrassing Whatsapp message? Now you’ve got a bit more time

Google Maps makes it pretty easy to share your location with your contacts, especially if they also use the same navigation app. 

When you’re on Google Maps, simply tapping on your profile icon on the top right corner of the screen will open your options where you can choose Share Your Location. Then, select a contact and pick for how long you want to share your location. 

Also: Google I/O: Maps will offer an “immersive view” of the world, even inside venues

There’s also a cool shortcut to sharing your location on Google Maps: when you take a screenshot of the map on the app, a little popup appears asking you if you’d like to share your location. 

FAQ

Will someone know my location if my iPhone’s battery dies?

In case of emergency, you can turn on Send Last Location on the Find My app, this will save your location for about 24 hours in case your phone battery dies. 

Also: Your iPhone battery is lying to you in weird ways

How do I stop sharing my location on iPhone?

To stop sharing your location so that someone else cannot view it, you can go to their contact card and scroll all the way down to where it says Stop Sharing Location and tap on that. 

If you shared your location via Family Sharing, Find My, or simply want to stop sharing your location altogether, just follow these steps:

  1. Go to your iPhone’s Settings
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Tap on Location Services
  4. Choose Share My Location
  5. Toggle Share My Location off

Can I add names to frequent locations?

The Find My app also lets you name your different locations, which is helpful for places you visit often. You can do this by opening Find My, then:

  1. Select Me
  2. Go to Edit Location Name
  3. Select one of the name options or add Custom Label

Why can’t I share my location on my iPhone?

If you can’t share your location successfully with others, chances are you need to turn on Share My Location on your Settings. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on your name
  3. Select Find My
  4. Enable Share My Location

Can I share my ETA with someone?

If you’re using navigation and want to send someone you’re meeting with your estimated time of arrival, Apple Maps has your back. 

To share your ETA, tap on your route information at the bottom of your screen and select Share ETA. Then just choose someone to send your ETA. You can also simply ask Siri, “Share my ETA,” whenever your navigation is running. 

Also: How to use Siri to take photos with your iPhone 

Apple also lets users automatically set up a contact to receive your ETA any time you start navigation to that location. This can be pretty helpful if you’re picking up kids with their own phones, so they always know what time you’re coming. To do this, add the location to your Favorites, and choose a contact to receive your ETA. They will receive it when you begin turn-by-turn navigation to that location.


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