Are you sharing your location with someone, and you want to know whether or not it uses data?
If you have a limited amount data that your plan allows each month, this can be an important concern.
So, does location sharing use data, and if so, how much can you expect it to use?
In this article, I’ll cover everything that you need to know!
Does Sharing Location Use Data?
Yes. Because sharing your location with someone else requires a connection to the internet, it will require mobile data to be used if you aren’t connected to a Wi-Fi network. This means location sharing won’t work without an internet connection.
While I will share some workarounds a little later on that can technically allow you to tell others your location without data, this will still require a connection to your cellular network. Additionally, if using an iPhone or Android’s built-in location sharing features, these will always require an internet connection of some sort.
That being said, depending on your plan, the amount of data that’s actually shared may not be that concerning about to you.
So, let’s look over how much data location sharing actually uses!
Further Reading: Can Someone See Your Location On Airplane Mode With Wi-Fi? (Answered!)
How Much Data Does Sharing Your Location Use?
So, when you share your location (either once, or continuously), how much data does it actually use?
As the sharer, very little!
First of all, it’s not as if your phone is constantly sending out your location every second as you move. Instead, it is only sent out when the other person actually goes to try and view it, or periodically.
Secondly, the information that’s actually transmitted is very small.
If your phone’s GPS pulls your coordinates, this can be stored in just a few kilobytes of text, which is sent to the other person.
Then, the other person’s phone can do the work of pulling up the map, downloading any satellite images, etc. Of course, depending on how they choose to view your location, this can cause several megabytes of data to be used on their end.
For the person sharing however, the amount of data used is very little!
Is There Any Way To Share Your Location Without Using Data?
As mentioned earlier, there are a few workarounds that technically allow you to share your location without using mobile data.
The first is sort of obvious – keep your phone connected to Wi-Fi whenever possible. If your phone has a Wi-Fi connection, it will use this to handle all internet-based sharing, including the automatic location sharing features built into iPhone and Android smartphones.
Of course, that isn’t always possible, especially when you’re away from home.
It should be noted that the location sharing features will always use the internet. So, without Wi-Fi, it will have to be cellular data. If no connection is available at all, the location cannot be shared, despite the fact that your GPS can technically work without internet.
So, what are you to do?
Well, many map applications allow you to find your exact location, even without an internet connection.
So, you could always copy your GPS coordinates from these applications, copy them down, and send them via an SMS text message to whoever you wish to share your location with. While this will require a connection to your carrier’s network, it will not use any mobile data at all as long as it’s sent over SMS.
If you’re planning on going without data for sometime, you may wish to open Apple Maps or Google Maps on your phone, and download the maps in advance. Since GPS works offline, you should still be able to use these applications even if you don’t have an internet connection.
This will also allow you to manually check your address or nearby streets, which you can send to others via SMS. This allows them to gauge where you are, without actually using any location sharing features or mobile data.
Finally, your last option is to simply figure out where you are based on street addresses, and manually text or call them the good old fashioned way.
While location sharing does indeed require an internet connection (and therefore will use mobile data if not connected to Wi-Fi), the amount of data that it uses is not very much.
This is because ultimately, your location can be sent as just a small form of text. It’s not until it reaches the other phone that a map is pulled up or downloaded. So, as the sender, you may only be sending a few kilobytes of data, which is only periodically transmitted (or may only be transmitted when the person actually goes to view your current location.)
I hope that this article has answered all of your questions.
If you have any other questions about sharing your location on either iPhone or Android, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister