How to track someone’s location with Google Maps

By Alexander Mereïn-Velkor

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How to track someone’s location with Google Maps

Google Maps is perfect for navigation, but its options are not limited by it. They can be used for exchanges by locations, enabling tracking your friends. Your friends also may track you, if you’ll permit them. 

With some swiftness, you can use Google Maps as a spy app, what you should remember that you can have problems with laws, no matter which app you’ve used for intrusion into privacy. Let’s see all those varieties of uses.

How to track

The tracking using Google Maps is voluntary: your target should know that you’re tracking and permit you to do this. Your target should use Google Maps as well and their Gmail contact should be in your contact list. Still, you can share your location even with those without a Google account by sending them a direct link with the location.

This is how location sharing works in general. Taken from the Business Insider article.

To do this, you have to either directly ask someone to share your location – which they will share by the following sharing algorithm – or to request the location.

For the latter, open your Google Maps, tap on your avatar in the upright corner of Google Maps. This is your main menu. Here, select Location Sharing: it will open the list of your contact. Select those which you want to track.

Here is the important moment. You can request a location only if you’ve shared it with the contact at least once. You’ll see how to share the location later in the article; if this condition is met, you’ll see the button Request when you tap on the contact.

Let’s see how you can share your location, and then request the location by yourself.

How to share your location on Google Maps

Firstly, again tap on your avatar in the upper right corner of your Google Maps, on the right side of the search bar. 

In the menu, select Location sharing point and select the contact to whose you want to share your current location. You can also specify the time during which they can see your location, which is 1 hour by default and can be extended up to 24 hours.

If the one has no Google Maps installed, you still can share your location, by using a temporary link sent via SMS or some messenger. 

Here you can see a full GIF sequence of what you need to do in order to share your location in Google Maps.

You can also share your estimated time of arrival, which is good when you’re going to the meeting. To do this, you should have a route created on Maps by its navigation features. After that, tap More and then Share My Trip Progress. Then, Google Maps will send your route to your contacts with whom you’re sharing it.

How to Ask Someone to Let You Track Them

You can track only those who are in your Gmail contact list. In addition, you can ask for sharing only from those with whom you’ve already shared your location. Thus, you aren’t able to ask for location sharing from everyone.

To do that, tap on your avatar in the upper right and choose Location sharing, similar to the case when you want to share your location. If you’ve shared your location with some of your contacts, you’ll see that you can tap Request after tapping on them. After that, the contact will obtain the notification, your e-mail and profile, and your location sharing request.

An example of asking for location sharing. Taken from the article on How-to Geek.

In that way, Google ensures that location tracking is mutual and non-abusive. It works well if your intentions are to be in touch with your friend. After approving, you’ll see the locations

In that way, Google ensures that location tracking is mutual and non-abusive. It works well if your intentions are to be in touch with your friend. After approving, you’ll see the locations

This is how you’ll see your friends’ locations on the map. Taken from the WIRED article.

Please note that your location ask can be ignored or rejected, in which case you’ll not obtain any notification. Your target can also block you, after which you’ll be unable to use Google Maps to track them. 

If they approve your request, you’ll obtain a notification and will see their locations on the map. They look like circles with their avatars, showing where they are.

You can always ask permission by direct conversation, such as “Could you please share your location with me for (insert your purpose), I’ll show you how” and, for example, show them this article or Google’s guidelines. If you have good relationships and your reason are clear and positive, chances are that your target will agree to share the location.

How to Stop Tracking Someone on Google Maps on Your Phone

To stop tracking, there are two options. It depends on whether you want to track your target in the future, or not.

First, you can simply hide the target from your Google Map. To do that, tap on the circle with the avatar on the map. On the bottom, tap More, and then select Hide from the map. You’ll stop seeing the target. To see her again, select her in the contact list and resume the location sharing by tapping Hidden from map > More > Show on map.

Second, for example, if someone is extremely annoying you can block the contact permanently. You’ll stop seeing the contact at all, and they won’t see you too. To do that, open the user’s profile, tap More > Block. You can learn more about Google’s contact blocking here.

How to Share Google Maps Location on an Android phone

To share location from Android, open the Google Maps application there and make the sequence of actions described in this article.

How to Share Google Maps location on an iPhone and iPad

Location sharing from an iPhone is basically the same as from an Android one, as the Google Maps interface is basically the same. However, don’t forget to log in to your Google account: while it is the default in Android, in iOS you should check whether you’re logged in.

In addition, Google Maps are well-integrated with iMessages, and it is easy to send your location by using them. To do it, you need to choose the App drawer at the bottom left of the screen of the iMessage app.

Can You Track Without Them Knowing

Actually, yes. But remember about the risk of consequences of intrusion into someone’s life. You can read legal information about it, for example, here or here

To do that, at first, you need to access your target phone. Now you know the algorithm of location sharing, so you can do this by yourself: share the location from your target phone to your own. In that way, you’ll obtain the target’s location. 

For example, you want to track the location of your friend. She visits you at a certain time and you’re eager to know where she goes next. 

Take her target phone when she’s away, unblock it, and open Google Maps. Then, quickly open the main menu and the Location sharing tab. Find your contact in her contact list. Then, tap on it and choose to Share my location; by this, you’ll share the location of your target, which is in your hand now, to you. 

Take her phone and share the location from her name to yourself, and then disable notifications to remain unnoticed. The photo is taken from the TechCrunch article.

To remain unnoticed, disable notifications from Google Maps on your target: in another case, she can see the notification about her location sharing update and you’ll be revealed.

However, it is a temporary option, as the location sharing via Google Maps is temporary, as you can remember. If you need to track someone for a long time, you’d better use parental control of spying apps, that is the matter of our other articles.

Conclusion

Google Maps, as you can see, is a robust tool for location tracking and monitoring. It can be used for various tracking purposes: to share your location, to see your friends’ locations, to request locations, and to block annoying contacts. By accessing the target phone and sharing the location with yourself, you can also spy without being noticed. 

In that way, Google Maps can be even a spying app, despite it not it’s most popular usage. It is the best for locations’ exchange with family and friends, facilitating mutual deeds, and being in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What I must remember when tracking without them knowing?

A. Remember to leave no trace. You must disable notifications, to ensure that your target won’t see that her location is shared.

Q. How to increase the chances that your target will satisfy your request?

A. Engage in productive communication and build trust with the person. Then, ask to share the location to be in touch. You can formulate a cause, such as being able to find each other easier to walk together, for example.

Q. Can I send my location to anyone?

A. To anyone who has Internet access. Google Maps’ Location sharing tab has the option of location sharing link. You can send this link to them via any messenger or email. The receiver will be able to track your location when tapping on this link

Alexander Mereïn-Velkor
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