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How to stop sharing your location in iMessage without others knowing
One useful feature of iMessage is the ability to share your location with contacts. But this can quickly turn into a liability if you fall out with someone, or the other person abuses their privileges. This makes it essential to know how to stop location tracking. The other person doesn’t even need to know — at least, at first — that you’ve done it.
On an iOS device, open a relevant conversation in the Messages app, and tap on the person's profile icon at the top. On a Mac, click the info icon in the top-right corner of the Messages window. Either way, when the right contact card is onscreen, click or tap Stop Sharing My Location. The contact won't receive any notification.
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How to stop sharing location in iMessage without others knowing
First we’ll cover how to stop sharing your location in iMessage with individual people without turning it off altogether. The other party will not receive a notification, but they may notice if they check the Find My App.
iPhone and iPad
- Open the Messages app, and select a conversation with the person you no longer want to share your location with.
- Tap the contact’s profile icon at the top of the screen.
- Tap Stop Sharing My Location.
The contact won’t receive a notification that you’ve done this, and you can always reverse course by following the first two steps then choosing Start Sharing My Location. They may eventually figure what what’s going on if they check the Find My app and notice you’re absent from the People tab.
- Open Messages, then select a conversation with the contact you want to block.
- Click the info (i) button in the top-right corner of the messaging window.
- In the drop-down menu that appears, click Stop Sharing My Location.
As with iOS, the contact won’t be notified that location tracking has stopped, but they might clue in if you’re absent from the Find My app.
How to stop sharing location on an iPhone or iPad
The methods above cut off sharing with individual contacts, but if you want to use the nuclear option, you can turn off location sharing with everyone. There are two approaches here: enabling Airplane Mode, which is temporary, or switching off sharing in Location Services.
Enabling Airplane Mode
Airplane Mode is a quick and easy solution, but the downside is that it cuts off cellular and Wi-Fi data as well until it’s disabled again. If you don’t mind that, it may be a valid option for a few hours.
Disabling Location Sharing
The long-term solution — and the one that lets you keep using your phone as a phone — is to turn off location sharing in iOS settings. Go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Location Services > Share My Location, then toggle off Share My Location.
Don’t worry — this doesn’t affect your ability to track your own devices. It only stops other people from seeing your location.
Faking your location on an iPhone is not something Apple officially supports. You’d need to download and install a third-party app that claims to be able to do it or, alternately, jailbreak your device. A VPN can fake your internet-based location data, but not what people see in the Find My app, which taps into GPS.
Having Location Services disabled makes the job hard, but not impossible. It should stop the average civilian from tracking you, but if you’re trying to avoid law enforcement or other government agencies, there are other methods available to them. This includes cellphone tower data, public Wi-Fi providers snatching your MAC address, and Stingrays, which simulate cell towers. Plus, let’s not forget good old-fashioned spyware installed on your phone, such as the NSO Group’s Pegasus.
Modern civilian GPS tracking can be extremely accurate, down to a few feet or meters. Only governments have access to the most accurate tracking data, however, and all GPS systems can be hampered by things like trees, tunnels, mountains, and skyscrapers.