Live Location Lets Facebook Messenger Users Share Their Whereabouts in Real-Time

Use of the feature is 'completely optional,' and Messenger users choose who sees the information

Facebook Messenger users can now share their current locations with friends and family of their choice for up to one hour following the application’s launch of its Live Location feature.

Product manager Selena Wang said in a Newsroom post that Live Location is rolling out globally for both iOS and Android, adding that the social network has been testing the feature “for a little while.”

Wang stressed that use of the feature is “completely optional,” and that users who elect to launch the feature determine exactly who sees the information it generates. She also shared instructions for Messenger users who want to get started with Live Location:

  • To share your Live Location in a message on iOS, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • With today’s update, you’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location.
  • If you choose to share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes.

  • You’ll be able to see an estimate of how long it would take to get to others’ locations by car. (The ETA is seen by the person with whom the location is shared.)
  • You can stop sharing your Live Location at any time; just tap Stop Sharing.
  • A small clock in the lower-right-hand corner of the map will also let you know how much longer you’re sharing your location for.

  • For Android, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • You’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location for 60 minutes. Just like on iOS, you’ll have the option to stop sharing your Live Location by tapping Stop Sharing, and you’ll see how much longer you’re sharing your Live Location for via a small countdown clock in the lower-right-hand corner of the map.

Wang also reminded Messenger users that they can still share specific locations without using Live Location:

It’s still possible to share a static point on a map, too. For example, if you want to tell a friend which coffee shop to meet you at, tap the Location pin or the More icon, and then instead of choosing Share Live Location, tap the red pin in the upper-right-hand corner. From there, you can search for a place to share, or you can drag and drop the pin on the map. Then, tap Send.

Vice president of messaging products David Marcus also posted about the launch of Live Location:

Many of us make plans on Messenger that involve finding each other or letting friends and loved ones know we’re on the way. Sharing your location will also help some of you feel safer on the way home. So today, by popular demand, we’re introducing an important capability: Live Location sharing.

We put a lot of time and effort into this feature to ensure that it was a delightful experience, while minimizing battery consumption to the point where you wouldn’t even have to think about it.