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Android’s ‘Find My’ Alternative Might Be Better Than Apple’s

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For those of us with iPhones, sharing our location with friends and family is simple. The Find My app (formally Find My Friends) is your one-stop shop for tracking the contacts, devices, and items in your life. But on Android, there’s not an obvious equivalent. You won’t find a “Share Location” option when texting your friends on Pixel, Galaxy, or OnePlus. But as it turns out, Android’s Find My alternative might be more useful than Apple’s app.

When you want to share your location on Android with a friend, don’t turn to a third-party app. Use one of Google’s instead: Google Maps. Everyone’s favorite navigation app is the perfect solution to keep tabs on your friends. The best part? It isn’t platform-specific, so you can track your friends on Android and iPhone. You can even use Google Maps location sharing on a computer, since it’s tied to your Google Account.

The feature requires you to have your friend’s Gmail address in your Google contacts. On iPhone, you can also grant Google Maps permission to your iOS Contacts app to find Gmail addresses. A Gmail is required for persistent, indefinite tracking, though; if the contact in question doesn’t have Gmail, you’ll be able to send them a tracking link, but that link will only work for up to 24 hours. It also requires Google Maps to have access to your location at all times. If you have “Allowed only while in use” (Android) or “While Using the App” (iOS) enabled, you’ll need to switch those options from your phone’s location settings. Don’t worry too much, though, because Google Maps will prompt you if you don’t have the right permissions enabled.

How to share your location with all your friends using Google Maps

To get started, fire up Google Maps, tap your profile in the top right, then choose “Location sharing.” Tap “Share location,” and you’ll see the sharing location settings menu. Here, you can choose how long you’d like to share your location for (as little as 15 minutes, or as long as 24 hours), but if you’re looking for a true Find My experience, choose “Until you turn this off.” That will allow you to continue sharing your location indefinitely, until you decide to cut ties.

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Below this option, you’ll see all the Google Accounts you have in your Google Contacts. Tap as many as you’d like to share with. If you have Gmail addresses in your non-Google contacts, tap “More” to see them (you will need to give Gmail permission here if you haven’t already).

Once you’ve chosen your contacts, hit “Share.” If you need to adjust any location permissions, Google Maps will prompt you. Otherwise, you’re in! Your friends will receive your location, and will be able to see how far away you are from them, your specific address, and even your smartphone’s battery level. If you ever want to stop sharing your location, go back to the Location sharing settings, then tap the contact from the list and choose “Stop.”

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