iPhone Find My ‘Live’ Location Tracking Not Working? | 7 Things You Can Try

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There’s something amusing about popping into an app to see what your friends are up to, and so Apple’s Find My app can provide plenty of quick entertainment (well, for me at least). Recently, one of the even more exciting advancements that Apple added to Find My in iOS 15 is the Live location tracking feature, which ups the ante by showing you not just where your friend is but where they’re going. Neat, right? More importantly, it’s a boon for safety.

Previously, the little blue dot would only indicate your friend’s static location and update every few minutes (or each time you refreshed the app if you were persistent). But now, a beaming green “Live” indicator around a moving dot gives you a sense of speed and progress as your friend’s car, bike, bus, etc., moves along its route. Well, when it’s working anyway.

Unfortunately, this Live location tracking feature in Find My doesn’t seem to work for everyone.

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You might have noticed a friend or two (or three) will show up on the map with the same old blue indicator, while other friends might show up as Live. Why is this the case? 

Live Location Not Working

Why Do Some Friends Show up Live in Find My While Other Friends Don’t? 

There’s not a good answer at this time as to exactly what’s going on. After doing some testing and tweaking many settings, I made a friend’s location show up as Live, but only momentarily. This seems to be a bug on Apple’s part.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can try to resolve the issue. Let us know in the comments below or on social media which solution ended up working for you.

1 | Check Location Settings

Your friend may have blocked permission for Find My to access their location causing further issues. In those settings, a smaller setting, Precise Location, may be another reason to blame. So make sure your friends and family members have this setting enabled (as long as they’re okay with it, of course). 

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Select Location Services.
  4. Make sure Location Services is toggled on.
  5. Now select Share My Location.
  6. Tap Find My iPhone and toggle all the settings on.
  7. Go back to the Find My page.
  8. Toggle on Share My Location.
  9. Then, head back to the main Location Services page.
  10. Scroll down and tap Find My.
  11. Select While Using the App.
  12. Toggle on Precise Location.

2 | Make Sure the Find My App Is ‘Running’

Some users online in the Apple Support Communities forums claim that Live location tracking in Find My won’t work if the Find My app isn’t running in the background.

Make sure that all of your friends or family members open the Find My app and let it run in the background (be sure not to force close it), then check to see if their Live location works.

3 | Turn on Background App Refresh 

Live location may not work properly if Background App Refresh has been turned off. Background App Refresh is a handy feature that keeps the content in your apps up-to-date, but it’s also known to affect battery life.

My best recommendation is to turn on the Background App Refresh feature and then toggle off all the random apps that don’t need it.

For instance, I leave Notes turned on, so I’ll be alerted right away when one of my shared notes has been updated.

Find My is not a specific option on this page, but I suspect that turning on Background App Refresh may help the Find My Live location issue. It’s worth a shot.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Background App Refresh.
  4. Select Wi-Fi and Cellular Data.

4 | Turn OFF Cellular Apple Watches

Does your friend have a cellular Apple Watch? Have them switch it off for a while, then head back to the Find My app and see if their location is now Live.

In my case, this worked. However, once my friend turned their cellular Apple Watch back on, Live disappeared. Is it a bug? Probably. Report it here. We’ll update this page if a solution exists or becomes available.

5 | Update All iPhones

Make sure that your devices are running the latest software updates.

  1. Head to the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update and follow the prompts.

6 | Reset the iPhones 

Some users have reported that resetting the iPhones solved the issue. However, that will take a lot of time and isn’t the easiest resolution, considering you’d have to coordinate the iPhone reset with each person whose Live location isn’t working.

I doubt it will be easy for anyone to make a case to their friends or family members to do this, but if they follow through and choose to reset their iPhones, make sure they do a full iCloud backup or archived iTunes/Finder backup of their devices before proceeding to reset them.

7 | Report It and Wait for an Update

It’s unclear if Apple is aware of this issue, but it may be the result of a bug like the one with the cellular Apple Watch, or maybe something else. If none of the previous solutions are working for you, you may want to forget about Live tracking for the time being and simply wait for Apple to issue an update. No “Live” location is better than no location at all, right? More proactive users can take it a step further and report the bug to Apple.

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