Discover How Smartphone Location Features Can Help Keep You Safe

Sharing your location with friends and family can make finding one another that much easier in the event of an emergency.

Alongside the many helpful innovations that now come standard with nearly every mobile device on the market, location sharing is so common that it sometimes seems like an afterthought. But if you’re not yet familiar with how the function works, there’s good news – sharing your location via smartphone can be helpful in many ways, whether you’re meeting up with friends or simply keeping your family up to date with your latest outdoor adventure. Here, we’ll go over the basics of location sharing before explaining how to use the function to your advantage.

Quick answer: Sharing your location helps let family members know where you are through GPS capabilities, which can be especially useful in the event of an emergency.

Person finding location on phone

The basics

It’s probably safe to say that nearly every smartphone has a GPS chip. This means that, when your device’s location capabilities are activated and app permissions are granted, certain mobile apps can use your precise location information to provide unique features. Common location-based functions can range from map applications delivering specific directions to retail apps recommending the nearest store that carries a product you’re seeking. But the feature that we’ll focus on is location-sharing for the sake of safety, which can be especially handy if you’re often away from home.

Enabling location features

Before we dig into the safety benefits of location sharing, let’s discuss the location sharing systems that come integrated into iOS and Android, the two major mobile operating systems. Wondering how to share a location on iPhone? It’s simple. On iOS 10.3 or earlier, look for your iCloud settings. If you’re using iOS 11 or newer, look for the Family Sharing settings. After you’ve found the option, tap Share My Location, and you’ll have the opportunity to choose who you’re sharing with.

For Android users, the process is fairly similar. Open your Google Maps app, tap the menu, and open location sharing settings. Then, tap add people – if you have a Google account, you can simply add contacts to the list, whereas users without a Google account can send a link to friends and family that reveals your location for up to 72 hours.

How it helps

In an emergency, location apps can help ensure you’re found in a timely manner.

Now that you have an idea of how mobile location services work, let’s discuss why they’re worth using. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that, in the event of an emergency – a hiking accident, for example – these applications can help ensure you’re found in a timely manner by showing your family exactly where you’re located. Some apps, such as Life360 Family Locator, even feature built-in buttons that send out urgent notifications containing your GPS coordinates to phone numbers and email addresses of your choice.

But not every safety benefit offered by these apps demands an urgent situation. Location apps are just as handy for keeping groups together at large events, where it could otherwise be easy to get lost. Many also let you announce your estimated time of arrival to a given event, making it simple for hosts to keep track of who’s showing up when and who might be plagued with car trouble or difficult traffic situations.

Test the waters

For many smartphone users, the ability to share your location and track the position of others has been a true game-changer. See what the buzz is all about with a new smartphone and mobile service plan from Straight Talk.