You don’t need to use the Find People app on your Apple Watch or the Find My app on your iPhone to share your current location with friends, family, or someone else you plan to meet. There are now options for both sharing and requesting someone’s location directly inside the Messages app!
It’s a handy feature in iOS/iPadOS 17+ and watchOS 10+ that’s a heck of a lot easier when you’re on the go and meeting friends or family or even letting someone know where you are (like your spouse, children, or parents.) And it’s all inside the Messages app!
While Apple offers a few different ways to share locations with other Apple users, including Apple Maps and Find My apps, sharing via Messages is the quickest option of all and uses an app you probably already use.
- 1 How to use Apple’s Messages app to share and request locations
- 2 Share or request location using the Messages app on iPhone and iPad
- 3 Share or request location using the Messages app on Apple Watch
- 4 How to stop sharing your location in the Messages app on iPhone and Apple Watch
- 5 There’s another way to share your location or request someone’s location using the Messages app
- 6 Other ways to share your location with friends, family, and others
- 7 Final thoughts
- Use your iPhone’s Check In feature to let your family and friends know you made it home
- Downloaded offline trail maps on Apple Watch make hikers’ lives easier and safer
- How to use the Find Items app on Apple Watch
Using the Messages app is by far the easiest way to share your location with others, and now it’s also the easiest way to request someone’s location.
Since you likely already texted the person you want to share or request a location, sending or asking for a location within your text conversation is super convenient.
Plus, the location updates with you!
So if you share your location or someone chooses to share their location with you, the map updates to show the current location as it changes.
The downside is that this works best between Apple devices and doesn’t consistently share location information if your family member or friend uses an Android device.
Also, location sharing drains your battery, especially on the Apple Watch. So, when you use this feature, we recommend sharing for one hour only versus the full day or indefinitely.
If you want to find out if someone safely made it home or to a specified location, we recommend you use the Message app Check-In feature instead!
First, check your privacy settings and make sure you allow the Messages app to access location information while you use the app.
Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services. Turn on Location Services, then scroll down and tap the Messages app and choose While Using the App. We also recommend toggling on Precise Location.
- Open a conversation or start a new one in Messages with the person you want to share your location or request their location.
- Tap the Plus icon (+.)
- Choose Location.
- Select either Request or Share.
- If sharing your location, choose a timeframe: indefinitely, until end of day, or for one hour. To prevent battery drain, we recommend selecting one hour.
- For sharing, a map thumbnail of your current location appears in your conversation. This map updates and follows you, so it’s always current.
- For requesting, a Request Location thumbnail appears in your conversation.
- If you want, add a subject or comment. Or just press the arrow send button. When you request their location, they must agree to share it before you can follow it.
What does the person I send the text to see when I request or share location?
When you use the Messages app to share or request location information within a text message, your recipient either sees a thumbnail of your current location or a message that you requested their location.
When you share your location with someone, they also get the option to share their location back.
When sharing locations, if both people (sender and receiver) have Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, or Watch), all you need to do is tap the thumbnail map to get directions to the person’s current location via Apple Maps.
You should also see a notification from Find My that the person is now sharing their location with you. Plus, the map updates as you move, so it’s always current.
If the recipient uses Android, they should receive an Apple Maps link that opens the location in a browser. But we noted this often does not work (and didn’t work between our iPhone and Pixel phone.)
When requesting locations, a share button should be within the request message to share your location quickly.
There are also options for how long you want to share location info with the person requesting: indefinitely, until end of day, or for one hour.
Your location is added to your text thread as a map thumbnail. Add any comments or subjects to your message and then tap the Send icon.
Just like your iPhone, the Apple Watch’s Messages app in watchOS 10+ helps you quickly send your current location or ask someone else to send their location.
This feature works when your watch connects to the internet via cellular data, WiFi, or your paired iPhone. It won’t work on non-cellular watches that don’t have an active internet connection.
Before starting, toggle on Location Services. Then scroll down and toggle on Share My Location. Continue to scroll down and set the Messages app to While Using in Settings > Privacy & Security Location Services.
And it’s just as easy to do on the Apple Watch as on the iPhone! Here’s how:
- Open a conversation or start a new one with the person you want to share your location with or request their location.
- Tap the “A” app icon.
- Select the Find My icon (looks like a bullseye with greens and a blue center dot.)
- Choose if you want to Share your location or Request someone’s location.
- If sharing your location, choose a timeframe: indefinitely, until end of day, or for one hour. We recommend selecting one hour to prevent your Apple Watch from draining its battery.
- Messages immediately send your current location as an Apple Maps thumbnail to that person. You don’t need to press send. The map thumbnail updates and follows you, so your location is always current.
- If requesting someone else’s location, Messages immediately sends a location request to that person.
- The person receiving the request must tap the Share button and choose the length of time they wish to share to allow you to see their current location.
How to stop sharing your location in the Messages app on iPhone and Apple Watch
Open the Messages app and tap the conversation where you want to stop sharing your location.
- Locate the text and thumbnail map of when you sent the location share.
- Tap the thumbnail map to open it.
- Scroll down to the bottom and select Stop Sharing My Location.
- You see a message confirming that you stopped sharing your location.
- The person you were sharing your location with also gets a notice that you stopped sharing your location.
From iPhone or iPad
- Open the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad and select a message.
- At the top of the message thread, tap the profile picture or name of the person(s) you want to share your location with.
- Tap Request Location or Share My Location.
- For sharing your location, you choose the length of time that you want to share your location.
From Apple Watch
- Open the Messages app and choose the conversation with the person(s) you wish to share your location with.
- Scroll down on the conversation, pass the Suggestions area to the More section, and tap Send Location.
- Your watch automatically sends your current location–however, this information won’t update.
There are a few other ways you can share your location on your iPhone and/or Apple Watch, including directly in Apple Maps, using the Find My or Find People app, and of course, you can also use third-party apps like Google Maps.
For the Find My app on iPhone/iPad and Find People app on Apple Watch
- Tap the name of the person if listed, or if unlisted, tap the + button. Select Share My Location on iPhones and iPads or Share My Location + button on Apple Watch.
To share your location from the Apple Maps app
- Open Apple Maps, select the Search Maps section and swipe up to show the list of options.
- Scroll down past your favorites, recent, and guides.
- Tap on Share My Location.
- Choose the person you want to share your Apple Maps location with and the method of sharing via the share options (i.e., AirDrop, Message app, Mail app, etc.)
For members of an Apple family plan
You can set up indefinite location sharing via your Apple ID Family Settings.
- Go to Settings > Family.
- Scroll down and select Location Sharing.
- Turn this on, then you can choose which family members you want to share your location with.
What I love about Apple’s location sharing is that your can now share your location or request someone else’s location, all from the Messages app.
It’s much easier to keep track of family, friends, co-workers, and others using the Messages app rather than digging into the Find My app, Apple Maps, or a third-party app.
For folks that use Apple products, this feature is awesome! I only wish it worked seamlessly between Apple and Android devices.