I know I can share my location from my iPhone, but if I’m on my Mac system, can I find and share my location too? And while I’m at it, can I calculate driving time to a different spot too?
While people are pretty savvy to the idea that your smartphone knows where you are on the planet at all times, it often comes as a surprise that your computer can figure out your location too. It’s not that your computer is emitting a GPS signal, but that there are a lot of clues about where you are, from your IP address to the names of wi-fi networks in your area. Whatever the magic, you can almost always open up Apple Maps on your Mac and find it knows exactly where you’re located, or a pretty darn good approximation.
The Apple Maps program (as differentiated from the Web site) is pretty slick too, though it appears to be quite a modest little program. You can find locations, get driving, walking, biking, or public transit directions, share them, and much more. You can also explore satellite imagery for any area on Earth too. Let’s focus on directions and locations, however…
FIND YOURSELF WITH APPLE MAPS
Start by launching the Maps app on your Mac system. It should automatically just find you and center the map on your current location…
You can see that I’m at the intersection of Broadway and Yarmouth in North Boulder. The program figures I’m very close to 1200 Yarmouth Ave, as denoted by the circle. If it has an exact location match, it’ll just have a pinpoint on the map.
Can’t find you or showing a generic location? Click on the tiny triangle icon on the top toolbar (it looks kind of like a rocketship) and the Maps program will try again to locate you.
SHARE YOUR LOCATION FROM APPLE MAPS
At this point, you can just Control-click at your current location and it will pop up a small context menu. You can send the current location to one of your devices with “Send to Device“:
But more useful since you’ve mapped your own location is to “Share” it with someone else. Do that by choosing “Share” from this tiny menu.
Easiest is to text someone else the location, but, as you can see, there are plenty of options.
I’ll choose to use Messages to share my location with my mate Harry Potter:
A click on “Send” and that’s about as easy as it could be.
GET DIRECTIONS FROM WITHIN APPLE MAPS
Now, what if Harry says “no, you come to me” and says he’s at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Well, I can check directions and distance by clicking on the “Directions” icon along the top:
The directions icon is the arrow pointing right within the circle. See it? A click and Maps prompts for start and destination:
What’s annoying is that “current location” is not the default. Instead, type in “Current Location” and it’ll understand what you mean. A tiny bit of sloppy UI from Apple, but that’s another story.
You can then enter the “To” address pretty easily since it’s a real-time location search tool. I don’t have to know the street address for Hogwarts to find the match, for example:
1,862 miles? Definitely one monster drive of 26 hours or, far more rationally, perhaps I should opt to fly. I hope Harry isn’t trying to keep my mug of butterbeer cold in the meantime!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about MacOS since the days of MacOS 9! Please check out my huge Mac help library for hundreds of useful tutorials and how-to guides while you’re visiting. Thanks.