Hey! What Does THAT Do? Using “Share My Location” In iOS8

iOS8 iconWho remembers Google Latitude?

Anyone? Bueller?

Right. So, Latitude was one of the chasm of “social” applications developed by the Internet’s biggest brain (that’d be Google, y’all). The idea, I suppose, was to share your location with other Latitude users.

All the time.
Always.
Yikes. To be honest, we don’t really know why.

When it got right down to it, while the app did have some usefulness (like if you were on a road trip and wanted the folks who cared about your well-being to know where you were), it was mostly … well … it was mostly pretty stalker-ey.

Fast forward a few years later, and guess what Apple’s got packaged into iOS8?

Its very own stalking system!

OK, maybe it’s not quite that nefarious. But still. It’s kinda … eww. But I digress.

And fine. We won’t call it that, we’ll call it “SHARE MY LOCATION.”
We like to keep things above board around here, ya know.

Lest I get all “SkyNet is watching” and start looking over my shoulder for George Orwell, there actually ARE some useful ways to use location sharing in iOS8. Let’s focus on those for now.

Let’s say you’re out driving. You’re going along, all is right with the world, then suddenly, your car breaks down or you realize you have absolutely no idea where you are.

As an aside, why is it that when stuff like this happens, you always seem to be in an unusually dark place with lots of ominous-looking trees and the distinct feeling that Leatherface is gonna knock on the passenger side window?

Where was I? Right. Driving. Rather than panic, you pull over—because texting and driving is a no-no, kids—and send a text to the friend you’re on your way to visit. You can enable location sharing in your iMessages and they can send you directions from your exact location.

That’s pretty neato, right? And you can do it in reverse, too. 

If you’re someone who has no sense of direction or if your direction-giving comes out something like, “go past the fire hydrant, then, when you’ve gone past the big white boulder—the big one, not the small one—turn left at the old oak tree” (you people are out there and have tried to give me directions, so don’t even try to deny it), you can have your direction-ee share their location, then you can send actual directions. Real ones. With street names and stuff.

Parents, this might actually be a neat little feature to enable on your kids’ devices. There’s a little peace of mind to be had in knowing where your little bugs are (just require a text check in from time to time, so you can make sure the little dears are safe).

If you want to enable location sharing, there are a couple of ways you can do it. 

 

Share My Location

Using any iOS8-compatible device (though it works best on the iPhone because that has built-in GPS capabilities), you can choose “Share My Location,” which shares your location for a predetermined period, such as an hour, ’til the end of the day, or in perpetuity. You can also choose “Share My Current Location,” which will send a map of your current location—JUST ONCE—to whomever you’ve chosen to send it.

To enable either, just go into any active iMessage conversation, then tap “details.” From there, just choose one or the other of the choices. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I’m not gonna go into the potential ICK factor, as we’re all smart (ish) people who can probably see where this sort of thing might cause problems. Hey. I’ve seen Sleeping With The Enemy; I know how this stuff works.

Used properly—emphasis on “properly”—location sharing in iOS8 could actually be useful. It could potentially go a long way toward keeping the folks you love safe and sound. And that’s never a bad thing.

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