One of the most useful navigation tools on both Android smartphones and iPhone is Google Maps—but it also has another important use. You can use it to send someone your location to coordinate meetups or reassure family that you’re almost home. The process is straightforward and includes privacy controls to limit what others will see.
You’ll most likely want to share your location with specific people. Google Maps location sharing is designed primarily with that in mind, and there’s a fair amount of customization so you can limit sharing to certain times.
Here’s how to securely share your location with contacts using the app. The instructions are similar no matter which type of phone you’re using.
Once you’ve opened Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the upper right, then tap Location Sharing. If this is your first time sharing, the app will provide an introduction and let you choose the contacts you wish to share with. If you’ve shared your location before, you can tap New Share to add additional contacts.
After you’ve chosen your contact(s), tap the duration to choose how long you want to share your location. You can increase the time in hour-long increments or choose Until You Turn This Off to share indefinitely. Maps will now show your status for that contact for the time you’ve selected, or you can tap the sharing status and then tap Stop to cancel it any point.
In addition, there may be times when you want to share your location through a specific app, a text message or broadcast your position on a social network like Facebook. or even as a generic link. Google Maps location sharing makes that easy, with similar steps.
Once you’re ready to choose the contacts you wish to share with, instead of choosing a person you can tap an app or link either directly (on Android) or tap More Options (on iPhone). Then, tap the app you want to share with, or scroll until you can tap Copy To (on Android) or Copy (on iPhone) to get the shareable link.
For security, Google Maps location sharing is precise, but it won’t share absolutely everything. Your contacts will get a notification that you’re sharing. They’ll see a map pin approximating your location, and can check your device’s battery charge in case they suddenly lose your position. When they tap the sharing status, they’ll see some address information such as your city and ZIP or postal code. However, they won’t typically see your exact address, and they also won’t see your location history or current path. And when you stop sharing your location, that information goes away. This means you don’t have to worry that someone will follow you on Google Maps without your knowledge or permission.