There are times you don’t want others to know your whereabouts, but there are also times when it’s a good idea. For those times when you do, you can share your location using one of the specialized apps that are currently available to download and install. This post rounds up some of the best apps you can get on your phone to share your location with your family.
Price: Free / $11.99 per month
While other apps just stick to sharing your location, Life360 (Android | iOS) also allows you to create trusted groups they call “circles.” Here you can add people you want to keep track of. When you first set up the app, Life360 will ask for a code to join an already existing circle or have you create a new circle.
The app also has an option that lets you check in so that everyone else in the group knows when you’ve made it to a safe location. You can also set up an SOS button to alert the group if you are in danger. Once a person has agreed to join your circle, you’ll be able to view their current location and have access to other relevant information, such as battery status and driving reports. You can enable “Crash detection,” too, so that you can be notified if a family member gets into an accident.
The app has a paid version, which unlocks even more options, like the ability to forward your distress signal to a 24/7 emergency dispatcher, ID theft protection, 30-day location history, and much more.
2. GeoZilla – Find My Family Locator & GPS Tracker
Price: Free / $14.00 per week
Just like the previous app, GeoZilla (Android | iOS) allows users to set up circles of trusted contacts to keep an eye on (and vice versa). The free version of the app offers key functionalities, including an ability to set alerts for when a person you’re tracking arrives or leaves a certain location and emergency mode. Moreover, it’s also possible to create battery alerts to let others know that your phone may run out of power and enable a “Fall” detection feature.
If you want even more options, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid subscription, which unlocks even more monitoring alerts, lets you create to-do lists and provides you access to driving reports for people in your circle.
3. My Location – GPS Maps, Share & Save Locations
My Location (Android) is a straightforward location-sharing app that doesn’t require making an account (unless you want to, of course). As you open the app, it will pick up your coordinates immediately. You can then select the “Share Live Location” option, which will generate a link to send to friends or family members.
Like with the other apps we included in this post, you can set up a list of places you visit frequently and even access your own location history. There’s also a Night mode which you can switch to.
4. Family Locator – GPS Tracker & Find Your Phone App
Price: Free / $21.99 per month
Family Locator (Android) is a nice app with a modern-looking interface that lets you create Groups to which you can add family members and other people you wish to keep track of. Once someone has agreed to be added to your group (via a code), you can enable real-time tracking for them and receive movement notifications. Interestingly, Family Locator also includes a Flights option, which allows you to track the progress of a flight. (You’ll need the flight number for that.)
In addition, you have an SOS distress button you can activate from the app, as well as the option to chat with your group from within this app. While all of this sounds good, keep in mind that the Family Locator’s free tier is pretty limited. If you wish to access what the app has to offer in full, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium.
Facebook’s Messenger app (Android | iOS) offers a convenient location-sharing feature that’s really easy to use. Since a vast majority of people have Messenger installed on their devices, it removes the need to install a new application on your phone. This comes in handy if you’re using a handset that’s low on storage or don’t have access to a fast Internet connection.
Just open a chat in Messenger (individual or group) and press the four dots in the lower-right corner of the display. Select Location, and after granting the necessary permissions, the other party will be able to view your whereabouts as long as you keep the session active.
Snapchat (Android | iOS) is another app you may not have expected to find on this list. Since many people use it, it’s worth pointing out that the app does offer such services. In the Snapchat app, tap on the Location icon at the bottom of the screen, then on the gear icon in the upper-right corner to start sharing your location with friends.
You can select which friends get to see your whereabouts, and there’s also a quick toggle which lets you go off the grid (Ghost mode) whenever you wish to keep your location private.
7. Google Maps
Google Maps (Android | iOS) needs no introduction really, which is why we saved it for last. Perhaps the biggest incentive to use Maps’ location-sharing feature is that it comes preinstalled on most newer Android devices. You don’t have to worry about installing a new app on your phone. Save space instead and take advantage of what Google Maps has to offer.
In the app, simply tap on your profile picture and select the “Location sharing” option from the menu that pops up. Once the feature is enabled, your location will be updated even when the app is not in use. You can then share your real-time location via popular apps, including Gmail, WhatsApp, Telegram and more.
8. Built-in Options
The majority of Android phones these days feature an Emergency mode which can be activated by long pressing the device’s power button. Depending on the device model, this mode may allow users to share their location, place an emergency call or trigger an SOS sound or the flashlight. On OnePlus models, you can even make a list of emergency contacts.
Some phone models come with additional safety measures incorporated. For example, the Pixel devices bundle the Personal Safety app. Here you can add one or more trusted contacts. The app also asks you to enable Location sharing in Google Maps.
Once you’ve done this, you can go ahead and create a Safety Check. When the time comes for the Pixel to perform the check, you’ll see the options to confirm that you’re okay, start emergency sharing or go straight to 911.
What’s more, you can add your medical information to the app as well as set status updates for events, such as placing a phone call or your device being on low battery. Google also bundled a car crash detection system into the app as well as the crisis alerts option.
On the other hand, non-Pixel users should make sure that Emergency Location Sharing (ELS) in turned on. If ELS is supported in your region, calling an emergency number can automatically send your location to emergency responders. You can enable the feature by going to “Settings -> Location -> Advanced -> Emergency Location Sharing” and toggling it on.
As for iPhone users, they can share their locations with a contact by going to the specific contact card and selecting the “Send My Current Location” or “Share My Location.” Read our complete guide on location sharing on iOS. In addition, iOS devices also have an emergency call feature that can be activated by holding down the power button together with one of the volume buttons.
9. Most GPS Apps
The majority of GPS apps feature a location-sharing feature of some sort. However, they lack other tracking features that some of the apps in our list boast. If you’re looking for a simple but worthy GPS app, check out our list of the eight best choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does GPS work?
If you’ve ever wondered how GPS works, we have you covered with a full article which explains this modern wonder in great detail.
2. How can you improve your location’s accuracy?
Sometimes these apps have trouble pinpointing your exact location. If your location is inaccurate or missing, you may want to try things like tapping the “Your location” button in the app, checking your Wi-Fi connection, calibrating your device or restarting it. On iPhones, you should also enable “Location services” under “Content & Privacy”
3. Are there any other gadgets that can help me remain safe?
There are instances when carrying a phone is not convenient, for example, when going out for run, in which case a smartwatch like the Apple Watch is the better option. The wearable lets you easily place a call to local emergency services. There are also other alternatives, such as, InvisaWear, a company that specializes in jewellery that can keep you safe. It sells everything from keychains and necklaces to bracelets and other matching accessories. These items have hidden panic buttons that when pressed will immediately text your trusted contacts.
Along with sharing your location, you can also stream on Discord to your friends or watch Netflix together. While technology can keep people apart, there are also many ways it can bring people together.