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How to share your location with iOS 8 (without creeping yourself out)

Glenn Fleishman | Feb. 16, 2015
I don't consider myself an excessively private person nor think I'm a superspy in civilian clothes. But there's something about sharing my location with other people that gives me the heebie-jeebies. I absolutely don't want to do it all the time, but I love the ability to choose when, where, and to whom I do.

I don't consider myself an excessively private person nor think I'm a superspy in civilian clothes. But there's something about sharing my location with other people that gives me the heebie-jeebies. I absolutely don't want to do it all the time, but I love the ability to choose when, where, and to whom I do.

iOS 8 offers a host of ways to share your location with other people, some of which appear for the first time in this release. Each method of sharing brings with it a complementary control that lets you either disable it temporarily, stop sharing entirely to a given individual, or set a time-bounded limit.

These controls neatly offset my burbles about privacy. Apple has responded to these sorts of worries or discomforts by making fine-grained options available. This article will familiarize you with the four ways you can share location in iOS, which may include methods you don't know about.

It's an interesting set of intersections between temporal, loose ties, and strong ties.

Whenever the global iOS Share My Location option (Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Share My Location, or Settings > iCloud > Share My Location) is enabled, everyone with whom you've opted to send your details can see where you are. The view will show either or both groups Friends and Family, depending on whom you've added.

The Share My Location section in Settings also lets you remove people you're tracking one at a time, no matter by which method you follow them, by tapping a name and tapping Stop Sharing My Location. They remain "following" your location, however, if they were before.

It also lets you pick your "presence," which device you want to announce your location, out of your set of devices logged into the same iCloud account. You can select this either in Share My Location > From, and picking a listed device, or in Find My Friends, as noted below. This is useful if you're carrying, say, an iPad and iPhone, and turn the iPhone off for power reasons, or leave one of those behind and want to show your presence from the one you still have you.

Find My Friends

What it's good for: sharing your current location with optional geofencing notifications with up to 50 close, personal friends.

The Find My Friends app (shown as Find Friends on the iOS home screen), introduced in late 2011, is the oldest method of sharing location. It helped me snag a ride for the first time in January 2012 as I noticed friends driving near San Francisco's airport.

The notion is that you add and remove people you know with whom you want to share your location as a binary thing — on or off. The app is asymmetrical in that you can add up to 50 people with whom you choose to share your location, and view the locations of up to 50 people who don't need to be the same folks. You can invite friends and they can invite you. (You can disable incoming requests by tapping the Me item in the Friends list and disabling Allow Friend Requests.)

 

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