iOS 8 Tip: Allow others to see your always-up-to-date location without making them install Find Friends

For a few years now, iPhones have had the ability to share your location with others via the Find My Friends app. This worked well but required everyone to download and install the app. Beginning with iOS 8, this feature has been expanded outside of the Find Friends app directly into Messages which lowers the bar of entry considerably, though with fewer features.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Sharing is one-way. You can share your location, but in order to see the other person’s location they must share with you as well.
  • You can set it up to share indefinitely or for a specific time.
  • You can revoke sharing at any time or temporarily hide your location.
  • Sharing your location does not notify the person, but it will show up in your message history.
  • Installing the Find Friends app allows you to do much more
To share your location from a person's Details page tap "Share Location" and then choose for how long you'd like to share.
To share your location from a person’s Details page tap “Share My Location” and then choose for how long you’d like to share.

Sharing. To begin, simply open your Messages history with a single person or with multiple people and tap the “Details” button in the top right corner. Tap “Share My Location” and choose a duration. You may want to also send them a message to tell them that you have shared your location because they will not receive a notification. If they have not yet upgraded to iOS 8 neither you nor they will see any sort of alert whatsoever.

Viewing. At any time you can simply tap “Details” in the top right corner of the window to see where they are located. You can also ask Siri “Where is so and so”. Or if you have the Find Friends app installed you can see all of the people who have shared their location with you on one map. You can also see their location from the “Details” button in Messages on your Mac in much the same way as on your iPhone.

Notifications. You can turn on push notifications that alert you when someone arrives at or leaves a particular location. To do so you’ll need to install and log into the Find Friends app. Tap the name of a person you wish to get a notification for. Tap “Notify Me” in the top center. From there you can fiddle with the notification settings to meet your needs. Each time the notification is tripped it will be removed.

Managing. To see and manage all people with whom you’ve shared your location you can either tap the you can go to Settings > iCloud > Share My Location, or you can open the Find Friends app.

Temporary privacy. You can temporarily disable your location for everyone by visiting Settings > iCloud > Share My Location. Turn off “Share My Location”. Until you turn it back on, whenever someone requests your location they will simply see that your location is unavailable, just as if you were out of internet service.

Support. For questions about how Find Friends works or to troubleshoot issues you may want to refer to Apple’s support documents.