share your location in real time

location sharing android ios

Glympse is an application that specializes in real time location sharing. A free version is available with features that are sufficient for hikers.

Glympse is a fast, free, and simple way to temporarily share your real-time location with anyone. The tracking is based on GPS, is temporary and secure – and Glympse recipients don’t need to download an app to see the shared location - they will instead receive a link which they can open in any web browser, on their computer or mobile. The web page in the browser will display a map with approximately the last kilometer of the shared trail.

How it Works

Creating a Public Tag

The easiest way to share your location with Glympse is to create a public tag. In the following screenshots we see the creation of a apptest123 public tag and setting the name of the hiker to "Tester":

Setting up a public tag

Once the public tag apptest123 is created, it is immediately viewable online at!apptest123

Setting up a Glympse

To actually start sharing the location, we need to "setup a glympse". A "glympse" is what this app shares, it is a collection of the previous route, current location, message, destination, etc. To setup a glympse, click on the big "G" button in the bottom of the screen and select "Share Location". A new screen will pop up where you can select the glympse tag, an optional message for the viewers, the destination and the time for which you intend to share the location. This time can be extended at a later stage. In case you setup the sharing for a lengthy time, Glympse will warn you to have a power bank ready.

Setting up location sharing

Invite Followers

Once you've setup location sharing, your position will be visible on the public tags URL, but you'll want to let your followers know that you've started the journey and the sharing is available. To do this, you need to click on the "three dot" button in the lower right bottom of the Glympse main screen and select "Send Invitation to View" from the menu item that appears. From there you will be able to share the public tag URL through whatever apps you like (Whatsapp, SMS messaging, etc)

Invite users to view your location

Tracking a Glympse

Once you start your journey you will be able to view the track in the Glympse app. Actually, you will only be able to see the last kilometer or so of the track, the previous parts are removed. This is perfectly fine for location sharing, as the viewers will be aware of your current position and the direction you're heading. Just note that Glympse can't be used to record your full track as a GPX file for later viewing, it's simply not it's purpose.

At all times, whatever part of the route you see in the Glympse app is what your followers will see in the web browser while watching the web page with your journey. To illustrate this, the following screen shots are taken from the Glympse app and the web browser, around the same time, while sharing.

Invite users to view your location

Checking Stats

While sharing, you can at any time check whether anyone has been viewing your location and how long ago. You can also extend the sharing period, modify the glympse message or destination, or even stop sharing if needed. All of these operations are shown on the first screen shot below.

The second screen shot shows what the viewers see once the glympse has expired - they see the last portion of the track that was recorded before the sharing has expired. This is good as it allows the viewers to be aware of where the hiker has stopped sharing, either due to reaching the destination or due to the glympse expiring.

Invite users to view your location

Other Uses

Glympse can also be used by a group of hikers before and during the hike to keep track of where everyone is. Glympse public tags can be used for this purpose, and anyone with a Glympse app and the link can join the public tag. In case you want to ensure that only the invited people can join, you can create a Glympse private group. The Group is private and not accessible by others, unless they are signed in to Glympse, and have received an invite from an existing member.


As of October 2023, the app has been downloaded 5M+ times on Google Play, and has a rating of 4.5 out of 115K reviews.

Google Play Rating

Final Verdict

Glympse is a cool, quick way to share your real-time location with family and friends. It is an app dedicated to this task, so we can say with confidence that it excels in it. It is however limited to the cellular network coverage - if there's no cellular coverage you won't be able to share your location. You need to be aware of this when hiking out in the wilderness.

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