How To Get Your Current Location When Calling For Help [Android]

Smartphone manufacturers and telecom service providers warn against relying on your phone in case of an emergency. Even though smartphone technology has improved exponentially over the years, and telecom providers are always working to improve their services they aren’t 100% reliable. Your phone’s battery could die or you might suddenly find you can’t get any coverage. That said, smartphones can still aide you if they’re working right in an emergency. Often, when calling for help, giving an accurate location is exceptionally important. Google has a neat feature in the Dialer app that gives you your current location when calling for help.

To get your current location when calling for help, you must be running at least version 9 of the Google Phone app. You can update it from the Google Play Store, or side load the APK if the update isn’t available in your country just yet.

Current Location When Calling For Help

When you call an emergency number, the Phone app will fetch your current location and display it above the in-call controls.

The following image is courtesy of the Google Phone app’s Play Store page. The information includes the street address for your current location as well as GPS coordinates. There’s also a small map thumbnail for your current location.

This feature is useful when you need to call for help in a place you aren’t familiar with. If you experience an emergency at home, it’s not going to be too hard to give your address. If however, you’re waiting at a bus stop and someone suddenly passes out, the location information will be exceptionally helpful. This should work on Pixel, Nexus, and Android One devices running Android 6.0 and above.

Testing Location Look Up During An Emergency Call

This may or may not work on other devices running Android 6.0. Unfortunately the only way to find out is to call an emergency number. Needless to say, unless you have an actual emergency, you shouldn’t be calling your local emergency numbers. In that same vein, there are reported incidents of some Android phones rebooting when you try and dial 911. If possible, contact local authorities and check if there’s a safe, unobtrusive way to check if you can get your current location when calling for help, and if your phone restarts in the process.

It’s not clear from the Google Phone app’s Play Store page what role location services on your phone play. It’s possible you might need to enable location services on your phone in order get your current location when calling for help. Of course, not many people disable location services. A large chunk of Android’s features and services work with your location so it’s safe for Google to assume that people will have location turned on, on their device.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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