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Google Maps brings its real-time journey-tracking feature to iPhone

Share your real-time location with the people you want, for exactly as long as you want

Google Maps has been getting a slew of useful updates this year, and on Thursday, October 18, iPhone users of the app received yet another one.

ETA sharing lets you share your route in real-time with selected contacts, so everyone knows the whereabouts of each other ahead of a gathering.

The feature has been available for Android users for more than a year, but rolling it out for iOS helpfully extends the functionality to one and all.

Announcing ETA sharing for iPhone, Samuel Mclean, product manager of Google Maps, said the feature lets you share live details of your trip with loved ones more easily “so you can keep your hands off your phone and your eyes on the road.”

It works like this: Once you’ve begun navigating to where you want to go, tap on the “˄” button in Google Maps, and then on “Share trip progress.”

That takes you to a page where you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favorite contacts, simply by selecting the relevant friends and family from a list of common contacts or by entering names to search for others.

The feature works whether you’re driving, cycling, or walking to your destination, and should be useful in a number of scenarios. For example, if you’re meeting a friend in town and you’re running late, it’ll give your buddy the option to go off and do other things, while at the same time they can also track your progress as you make your way to the meeting point.

You can see the feature in action in the video above.

Thursday’s Google Maps update also enables the location-sharing feature for across third-party apps, among them Facebook Messenger, Line, and WhatsApp, enabling you to communicate with friends on your platform of choice.

On a privacy note, the new feature automatically stops sharing your location with those who you selected once you reach your destination.

While location sharing has been available with other apps like Waze and Glympse for some time, adding it to Google Maps — by far the most popular mapping app in the world — certainly brings extra convenience for users.

Looking to get even more out of Google Maps? Then be sure to check out Digital Trends’ handy guide, which offers plenty of tips and tricks.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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