WhatsApp‘s Live Location feature allows another user in a one-on-one chat or participants in a group chat to see a person’s whereabouts. With the recent privacy issues surrounding WhatsApp as well as the more general concerns of how personal information is used by apps, it is worth knowing how WhatsApp’s Live Location works, the data it collects and how long location information is shared with others after being enabled
Besides messaging other users directly or as part of a group chat, WhatsApp also offers video calls and will soon make it easier to join a group video chat after it’s already started. WhatsApp also recently began testing multi-device support, which will let users link four additional devices to their WhatsApp account. Not to mention, the service has also added an option for iPhone users to quickly and easily transfer data from an iPhone to an Android device. When it comes to privacy, WhatsApp has been making changes here as well, including the launch of View Once, which makes it possible to send a picture or message that will disappear once it has been seen by the recipient.
Users can choose whether or not they want to share their location with someone else, according to WhatsApp, in addition to how long they want Live Location to be active for. When Live Location is turned on, a thumbnail of the user’s profile picture is visible on the Map, and the recipients will be able to tap on it to see where the user is in real time. Only the people the user has shared their location with will be able to see the thumbnail and Live Location data is end-to-end encrypted, just like user messages. In other words, no one else will be able to see the Live Location data, including WhatsApp.
Once in a one-on-one or group chat, the user can simply tap on the “Attach” button and then on “Share Live Location” to enable the feature. At which point, the user will see a pop-up window informing them that others in the chat will see their location in real time. Users can then choose how long this information will be available for by choosing between 15 minutes, one hour and eight hours. After the chosen amount of time runs out, sharing Live Location information with others will automatically stop. Users can also manually stop the sharing at any point by opening the same chat, tapping on “Stop Sharing” and then “Stop Sharing” once more.
Before being able to use Live Location, users will need to make sure location permissions in general are turned on for WhatsApp in their phone settings. On an iPhone, users can just open Settings, scroll down to find WhatsApp, and then tap on Location and choose “Always.” On Android, users will need to tap on “Apps & Notifications,” choose “App Permissions” and then tap on “Location” before enabling the permission for WhatsApp.