How to Locate Yourself and Others with an Android Phone - dummies

How to Locate Yourself and Others with an Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

You can never get lost as long as you have your Android phone’s Maps app. That’s because it always knows where you are — even when you don’t.

Finding out where you are

The Maps app shows your location as a blue dot on the screen. But where is that? If you need to phone a tow truck, you can’t just say, “I’m the blue dot on the orange slab by the green thing.”

Well, you can say that, but it probably won’t do any good.

To find your current street address, or any street address, long-press a location on the Maps screen. Up pops a card, similar to the one shown. The card gives your approximate address.


If you touch the card, you see a screen with more details and additional information.

  • This trick works only when your phone has Internet access. When Internet access isn’t available, the Maps app is unable to communicate with the Google map servers.

  • To make the card go away, touch anywhere else on the map.

  • The time under the Travel icon (the car in the figure) indicates how far away the address is from your current location. If the address is too far away, you’ll see the Route icon.


  • When you have way too much time on your hands, play with the Street View command. Choosing this option displays the location from a 360-degree perspective. In street view, you can browse a locale, pan and tilt, or zoom in on details to familiarize yourself with an area, for example, when you’re planning a burglary.

Helping others find your location

You can use your Android phone to send your current location to a friend. If your pal has a phone with smarts similar to those of your Android phone, he can use the coordinates to get directions to your location. Maybe he’ll even bring tacos!

To send your current location to someone else, obey these steps:

  1. Long-press your current location on the map.


    To see your current location, touch the Location icon in the lower-right corner of the Maps app screen.

    After long-pressing your location (or any location), you see a card displayed showing the approximate address.

  2. Touch the card.

  3. Touch the Share icon.

  4. Choose the app to share the message, such as the text messaging app, Gmail, Email, or whichever useful app is listed.

  5. Continue using the selected app to choose a recipient and otherwise complete the process of sending your location to that person.

As an example, you can send your location by using the phone’s text messaging app. The recipient can touch the link in the text message to open your location in his phone’s Maps app.