Most modern smartphone platforms have tools that allow users to share their current location with others.
Apple has its native Find My Friends app. But while that app works great for a circle of iOS users, it can’t be used to find or send a location to Android devices.
Luckily, if you want to share your location with your friends on Android (or vice versa), there are quite a few third-party options available to you.
Firstly, you should know that there are native options for sending your location to others.
For example, iOS’s Messages app has an option to Send My Current Location. (Within a message thread, tap the “i” icon to find it.)
But this method can get murky between platforms. While you can send a static location from an iPhone to an Android, continuous location sharing isn’t supported.
Android has its own solution in the native Messenger app. Of course, the coordinates are sent via Google coordinates. That can complicate things if sent to an iPhone.
With that in mind, here are some other cross-platform apps and platforms.
Using Google Maps
Google Maps offers an easy way to share your current location on iOS and Android devices. It’s especially handy because it’s an app most people already have. It’s baked into Android, and many iOS users prefer it to Apple Maps (the writer of this piece included).
It also offers an incredibly simple way for the recipient of your message to get directions to your exact location.
Steps to Use Google Maps Location Sharing Feature
- Open Google Maps and sign in to your Google account (if you aren’t already).
- Tap the Menu icon in the upper-left corner.
- Tap Location sharing.
- Tap on Get Started.
- Choose a timeframe.
Note: If you’re already sharing your location with someone else, you’ll tap the Add People+ icon rather than Get Started.
When it comes to actually sending your location to a contact, you have a couple of options. If the person has a Google account and is on your Google contacts list, use these steps.
- Tap Select People (grant access to your contacts if needed).
- Choose the person.
- Tap Share.
If you want your current location via your device’s text messaging app, use these steps.
- Tap Message (grant access if needed).
- Edit the contents of the text if you’d like.
- Type in a recipient phone number.
- Hit Send.
In some of the above steps, Google Maps will actually create a link with your location and include it in the contents of the message. But you can also go about manually creating this link to send to others manually.
- Tap More.
- On iOS, tap Copy and then tap the link. On Android, tap Copy to Clipboard. People with this link can see your location on a browser.
- Send the link via the communication platform of your choice.
- Alternatively, after tapping More, you can choose to share the link directly through the communication platform of your choice.
Google Trusted Contacts
Google also offers another location-sharing platform, though it works a bit differently.
It’s called Trusted Contacts. It’s more of an emergency contact and safety app, which makes it good for close friends, couples, and families. But in a pinch, it can be used to send or receive current locations in everyday scenarios.
Before you get started, the app must be installed on both devices. Also, both users will need a Google account. You’ll then add each other via email or phone number.
- Download and install Trusted Contacts.
- Open the app and make sure you’re signed into your Google account.
- You’ll be prompted to add contacts. Enter their email or phone number.
If you sent an invitation via email, they’ll be notified via in-app contact or email. If you added a contact by phone number, they’ll get a text with a link to accept the invite.
Once you get it set up, sharing your location is as easy as tapping on a contact and tapping Send location alert now. You can also Request your contact’s location in this same panel.
You aren’t just restricted to Google services when it comes to cross-platform location sharing. Facebook has an option, too.
Live Location is built into the Facebook Messenger platform. It’s a pretty easy way of sharing your current location. Again, it’s handy because quite a few people will already have the app installed.
Of course, this assumes that you and your friend both have Facebook accounts. In addition, you’ll both need to have Facebook Messenger installed on your devices.
Steps to Share Location Using Facebook Messenger
- Open Facebook Messenger.
- Find the contact you’d with whom you’d like to share your location.
- Tap the More icon (it should be a small + sign).
- Tap Location.
- Tap Share Live Location.
Your contact will then get a notification if their Messenger app is closed, and a map of your current location.
By default, you’ll only share your continuous location for an hour. In the Facebook Messenger thread, you’ll see a countdown with the time remaining. You can also cancel location sharing at any time.
If you don’t use Google or Facebook or you want a less temporary solution, you have other options.
Another way to go is to use an app that allows for continuous location monitoring between a group of people. It goes without saying that this is especially handy for parents or families.
One of the best (and most widely reviewed) app of this type is called Life360. It’s available on the App Store and Google Play.
Here’s how to set up an account.
- Open Life360.
- Set up a new account with contact data and a password.
- Go through the rest of the setup steps.
- Eventually, you’ll see an option to Create a New Circle. Tap this.
- Once you do, you’ll get a prompt to share a specific invite code with your loved ones.
Every device you want to share locations with will need to download and install Life360. You’ll also need to create individual accounts for each member of the rice.
It’s worth noting that Life360 is especially geared toward families. Once you set up a new map with various contacts in it, you’ll each be able to see each other’s location and location history at any time.
The app offers other useful features for parents. You can set specific locations and “geofences.” Once you do, you can get notifications when people in your circle arrive or leave those locations.
We hope that you found this detailed article on sharing your mobile device location helpful. Please feel free to share the article and also use the comments below to let us know if you have any questions or would like to provide your favorite tip!
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.