The 4 Best Location Sharing Apps

Tell your friends where you are and have conversations based on your location

You can share your location through virtually any of the major social networking apps out there today—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.—but that doesn't mean that you always should, especially if your profiles are public and you've got a lot of friends or followers who may as well be considered complete strangers.

Location sharing is still a fun way to tell your closest friends or family members what you're up to, and there are apps out there you can use to specifically do just that without blasting your exact location to everyone on the open internet. These apps also give you flexible control of your privacy settings, so you can customize exactly what you share and with whom.

Ready to share your next destination? Download one of the following apps to get started, and invite your friends and family to join the app!

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Foursquare's Swarm

swarm app screenshots


What We Like
  • It's easy to connect with existing friends.

  • Encourages use by collecting streaks and stickers.

  • Your location history can be viewed from a computer, too.

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes has trouble logging in.

  • It's too easy to fake your location.

Back in 2010, Foursquare was the ultimate location-sharing app. It was fun and trendy for a while, but since then it's seen a lot of changes. The original Foursquare app is still available, but its primary use is for discovering places around you. 

Swarm is a newer app with the social networking component stripped out of the original app. For location-sharing specifically, it's still one of the best apps out there.

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Glympse on smart watch

Dan LeFebvre / Flickr

What We Like
  • Useful for both smartphone and non-smartphone users.

  • Easy to use with few advanced options.

  • Works immediately, or you can enable extra features.

What We Don't Like
  • No option to share location details indefinitely.

If you're not sold on Swarm, there's Glympse, another great location-sharing app that lets your friends see exactly where you are in real-time. Much like Snapchat's Snap Map, you can give your friends a "glympse" of your location before it automatically expires, so your location is never permanently posted.

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Life360 app icon


What We Like
  • Great for friends and families.

  • Locating sharing is usually very accurate.

  • Really easy to use.

  • Lots of useful features.

  • Advanced features can be purchased.

What We Don't Like
  • Occasionally shows the wrong location.

  • Free users are limited in a few ways.

Similar to Find My Friends, Life360 is all about sharing your location with the closest people in your life, such as your family members and best friends. Start by building a main circle out of your immediate family members, and then create more circles for other people, including extended family members, friends, coworkers, and so on. You can also message people directly through the app.

This app's specialty is location alerts. Set one for your spouse's workplace, or your kid's school or friend's house, and be told immediately by push alerts when they arrive or leave.

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Snapchat's Live Location

Snapchat images on a phone showing Live Location features
What We Like
  • Let a trusted friend track your location for peace of mind.

  • Your location updates in real-time.

  • Pause sharing at any time.

What We Don't
  • Location-sharing windows are limited.

  • You can only share your location with a Snapchat friend.

Snapchat's Live Location feature is an expansion of its Snap Map, where you can view friends' general locations on a map. The traditional Snap Map only shows an approximate location and updates only when the user has Snapchat open. However, Live Location offers a more specific and granular tracking feature.

Live Location is a digital "buddy system." For example, maybe you're heading out on a date and want peace of mind knowing a trusted friend will know your exact location. Or, if you're meeting up with someone, you can allow them to track your location, so they'll know when you're getting close.

To turn on Live Location, navigate to the trusted friend's profile and choose a tracking time period (15 minutes, an hour, or eight hours). Then, your friend can view your movement via a chat window. When you feel safe or otherwise want to end the tracking period, you can do so without notifying the other person.

Live Location is a partnership between Snapchat and It's On Us, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping sexual assaults on college campuses.

Live Location is a feature of the Snapchat app for iOS and Android, so no additional download is required.

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