Why I Share My Google Map Location With 5 People

Brenden Wood
4 min readApr 21, 2024

Our trip through Thailand shifted into the big city of Bangkok last night.

And, after a pleasant night spent with friends, which included watching a stunning sunset over the city, I added a twist to the night by accidentally leaving my iPhone on the backseat of a taxi!

The taxi had driven off from the hotel before I realised what I’d done.

Lost iPhone

What to do? Is my phone lost forever?

Instantly I knew I could access Apple’s ‘Find My Device’…but to monitor the phone’s location and send loud annoying messages to it I needed to be upstairs in our hotel room using my laptop.

I knew straight away that if there was anyone who could find my phone in a large Thai city it was a former resident of the city, Superwoman Kirinee, my wife!

She starts desperately calling my phone and sending messages to it hoping that someone sees the phone buzzing. (My phone was on silent).

Location sharing

It took several panicked minutes before I remembered that I constantly shared my phone’s location with 5 people — they included a couple of brothers, a couple of mates, and Kirinee!

We had a look at Google Maps on Kirinee’s phone, and could see that my phone was several blocks away.

Instantly Kirinee knew that she was the only one who could rescue my iPhone. Her local knowledge and language skills were the key to chasing the iPhone. I was relegated to a hotel room monitoring the phone on my Mac and communicating with her via Messenger.com.

So, with Google Maps open, Superwoman Kirinee finds a helpful taxi driver who bought into our goal of hunting-down my iPhone.

At one stage the phone was 19 minutes away from our hotel.

Find my device

Apple’s ‘Find My Device’ displayed four options to me:

1/ Play Sound

2/ Mark As Lost

3/ Erase This Device

4/ Remove This Device

I desperately go with option #1 by choosing to play the loud & annoying sound from my iPhone to anyone who might be near it, but I knew that options 2 & 3 of marking the phone lost and erasing the contents could become real soon. (Losing an iPhone in a foreign city is a lot more inconvenient than losing it in your home city).

I’m also watching the phone’s battery drop from 40% to 20% — the loud sound was chewing up a lot of power.

Monitoring

On my Mac I was able to view the phone’s location and Superwoman Kirinee’s location.

Not knowing if the Google Map indicators were giving Kirinee real-time location of my phone I was also sending her screenshots that Apple Maps was displaying to me.

Kirinee and her helpful taxi driver spent almost 40 minutes zig zagging across Bangkok as they followed my phone’s location on Google Maps.

Late in the chase I was mindful that my phone may longer be on the backseat of a taxi, instead in the hands of someone else.

Kirinee (right) with the helpful taxi driver (middle) who followed the lost iPhone

Amazing Bangkok

A combination of Google Map location sharing, Kirinee’s local knowledge and tenacity, and the helpful taxi industry insights of her driver who had a deep understanding of the driving patterns of Bangkok cabbies, Kirinee found my phone pinging the loud thumping noise while in the safe hands of the taxi driver who had dropped us off an hour earlier!

Back in my hotel room I could see Kirinee was at the same location as my iPhone, and after several tense minutes I receive a Messenger audio call from her: “I found it!” And, in the background, I could hear my iPhone still emitting the loud noise.

Kirinee said that the taxi driver who had my phone was about to drive back to our hotel to drop off the phone to the concierge.

Kirinee (right) with the honest taxi driver who found my iPhone in his taxi

Grateful

I’m thankful that two honest and helpful Bangkok cabbies helped my wife find my iPhone.

And I’m also very thankful of Superwoman Kirinee who spent an hour chasing my iPhone across Bangkok on a hot and humid night.

Very thankful.

Big tech

I’m also grateful of the technology that helped us find the phone — it was a combination of products supplied by Apple, Google and Meta that got my iPhone back. (Apple ‘Find My Device’, Google’s ‘Location Sharing’ on Google Maps and Meta’s ‘Messenger’).

Thank you Big Tech, thank you cab drivers and thank you Superwoman Kirinee!

And, yes, the helpful taxi driver received a large amount of Baht as a tip from my wife Kirinee. Now, I need to somehow display my gratitude for her ‘boots on the ground’ search of my phone.

#iPhone #FindMyDevice #Bangkok

--

--