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How to share your location on an iPhone
Although privacy concerns with smartphones can be valid, there are definitely moments when it’s worth sharing your location — say because a family member is lost, or you want your partner to know you’re safe during a long trip. Here’s how to share your location on an iPhone in several different ways.
First, double-check that Location Services is enabled and configured by opening the Settings app and navigating to Privacy > Location Services. If that's good to go, one of the easiest ways to share your location is by entering a Messages chat, tapping on a person's profile at the top, then Share My Location. There are alternatives however, such as Google Maps and WhatsApp.
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How to enable Location Services on your iPhone
Before you even attempt to share your location, you’ll need to make sure Location Services is running. This is the iPhone backend that manages GPS and other forms of wireless tracking. Some people disable it completely for maximum privacy, but needless to say, you can’t share where you are if there’s no location data to send.
Here’s how to check if Location Services is active:
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down a bit, tap on Privacy, and then Location Services.
- Make sure Location Services is toggled on.
- Check similar options under Share My Location. Even if you don’t want to use Apple’s Find My app, you should have Share My Location on.
Back in the main Location Services menu, you may want to scroll through app permissions and make sure relevant apps are set to either While Using or Always. Thankfully, apps will often prompt for necessary access themselves if they don’t have it.
How to share your location in iMessage
The Messages app is the most natural place to share your location. You probably already trust any named contacts you’re talking to, and there’s not much hunting around through options. In fact, if all you want to do is share a one-time ping, just start a message with “I’m at” and select Current Location from the suggestion bar.
If you want to share continuous location data with other Apple users, there are only a few more steps.
- Open a Messages conversation with the person you want to share your location with.
- Tap their profile icon at the top of the screen.
- Tap Share My Location.
- You’ll be given three options: Share for One Hour, Share Until End of Day, or Share Indefinitely. Choose one of the first two options unless you have no problem with the person knowing your habits 24/7.
- Regardless of which option you pick, if you no longer want to share your location with that person, you can go back to a person’s profile and tap Stop Sharing My Location to halt tracking immediately.
How to share your location in Apple Maps
Apple Maps may be preferable if it’s your primary navigation app. Note, however, that you can only share your location directly from your iPhone, not via a vehicle’s CarPlay interface.
The process is simple:
- Tap and hold on the Maps icon, then Send My Location. If you’re already in Maps, just tap on the blue dot, then Share.
- Either way, you’ll see the iOS share sheet. Pick an app or a frequent contact to share with.
- Follow prompts to send a link or otherwise initiate sharing.
How to share your location in the Contacts app
This option is virtually identical to the (non-typed) one in Messages, for a logical reason — when you open someone’s Messages profile, you’re really looking at their Contacts page. But if you want to skip Messages:
- Open the Contacts app.
- Select the person you’re looking for.
- Tap Share My Location.
- As with Messages, you’ll be asked to choose between Share for One Hour, Share Until End of Day, or Share Indefinitely.
How else can I share my location on an iPhone?
There are too many choices to write out a comprehensive list, but if it’s a major navigation or messaging app, chances are there’s some sort of location-sharing feature. The biggest alternatives are Google Maps and WhatsApp — check out our guides for detailed instructions. You should default to one of those when sharing with Android users, since Apple’s continuous tracking only works on devices with Apple Maps. Otherwise, only a static position can be sent.
Some other iPhone apps include:
Read more: The best location sharing apps for Android