Do you track anyone's phone? Does anyone track yours?

In another thread, a poster said:

Just last weekend we were at our friends’ house, and the couple in their 60s said something about their 32-yr old daughter tracing their phones.

How many of you track someone else’s phone, or has someone else who tracks yours. Why or why not?

I guess I can understand having “find my phone” linked on a couple of devices, so one spouse can locate another spouse’s mislaid phone. Or maybe if the person being tracked is aged or infirm. But other than that, the whole idea impresses me as VERY invasive. It just seems nosy and intrusive. Like something a controlling spouse would do - or a partner who has been cheated on and doesn’t trust the other.

If any of my adult kids wants to know how I spent my day, they can call me up and I’ll gladly fill them in on every boring detail. Even tho I have nothing to hide, I dislike the idea that my kids - or anyone else - could just check in to see, “Hmm - looks like Dinsdale is in the office/at the store/at the dr’s office…” Nor can I imagine any reason why my kids would WANT to check up on my location.

I acknowledge that I value privacy and anonymity quite highly, but I don’ think you would have to share my possibly extreme values to not want your phone’s movements tracked.

My wife and I have location sharing enabled. I think we did it to coordinate… something a while ago, and never turned it off. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it. No idea if she checks where I am, but I tell her where I am and where I’m going to be so it would probably not be very interesting to her.

When I think about the many many entities that can figure out where I am by tracking my phone, from governments to social media sites to advertising networks… my kids are fairly low on the list of those I’d rather not know.

I’m the guy who first mentioned this in the other thread.
We have our adult children and each other on location sharing. None of us are leading secret lives or care that our location is known, and it’s nice to be able to look and see that my daughter is home from work safely, for example. When one of us is on the road, it’s good for tracking progress. “Jimmy just crossed the narrows bridge, he’ll be here in 40 minutes.” It saves on phone calls and texts.
If I’m waiting for my wife to pick me up, I can quickly look and see how far out she is.
My wife knows were I am at all times anyway, even without the phone (and even when I’m somewhere unexpected, I don’t care that she knows).
I certainly get that for many people this would be invasive. I wouldn’t have wanted this when I was married to my ex-wife. My kids would certainly not have liked it when they were in high school or college (when we would have most wanted it). I don’t mind the occasional text, “hey Dad, what are you doing in Vegas lol?”

It’s just a nice feature we could live without, but enjoy having. None of us feel spied on, mistrusted, or hounded.

That’s absolutely cool. Just never crossed my mind, and my preferences are pretty perfectly opposite yours. Wondering how others feel.

I know I am in a tiny minority in that I prefer just about anything that keeps my phone out of my hands.

My husband and I use a tracking app. It’s come in handy a couple of times when my phone got misplaced, and my anxiety does appreciate the ability to see if he’s OK if he’s late home from work. Traffic here is bad enough we can’t rule out accidents, we’ve had enough bad cars that breakdown is a possibility, etc.

Also helps to have some idea how far away he is for such purposes as “do I have time for one more episode of that show he doesn’t really like?” or “when should I start dinner?”

We both consider this useful, but that’s how we operate. YMMV, naturally.

I turn on location sharing when I am on a bike trip so my wife can see where I am, more as a safety factor, but I still call and text along the way. Otherwise, I keep it off, so as to preserve battery (location sharing requires location access, which can hog battery).

I agree with the OP, this can be highly invasive. We know a family where the parents tracked their kids, and had all texts forwarded to the parents’ phones, too. Totally an invasion of privacy, IMHO, even for teens, and that level of surveillance was totally unwarranted (they are good kids, well, at least the boy is).

I have it on, along with my wife and two teenagers. It makes life easier for all of us.

I also have my mother tracked for safety. She’s 84 and perfectly mentally competent, not so much physically.

My wife and I both track each other. We both take transit and commute to our respective offices on alternating days, so it’s pretty useful for the person who’s home to have dinner ready by the time the other one comes home. We both joke about “stalking” each other, but since neither one of us goes anywhere other than work without each other, it’s not like we’re trying to hide anything.

I can understand it’s not for everybody, but we find it useful.

God, what choice do they have? Wait until they get “off leash”!
My husband and I have the tracking enabled on our phones as well. I must say I don’t like it, not that either of us ever uses it. I guess if one phone gets lost or stolen, then some good may come of it.

No and no. Doesn’t feel right to me, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that level of oversight.

The kids are now 15 and 17 and I’ve made a point of telling them that we’d never do that to them. I don’t want them ever feeling like we’re looking over their shoulder.

It just comes with using an iCloud family plan with Apple. In exchange for the ability to share purchased apps, you also have the ability to locate each other’s devices with “Find My”, so better only let in people you trust. It can be disabled on a per device basis, but that might also disable being able to find that device if it goes missing.

This also goes for the car. My wife or I can open the car app on our phone, and see exactly where the car is, and what it’s doing. That’s convenient for answering the “when will Daddy be home?” questions.

After 4 years with the car, I don’t think my wife or I have ever had a “what were you doing at the wrong place” type event. We both know that the other occasionally checks in, but it doesn’t “keep us honest,” because (at least in my case), I’m not planning to do anything she doesn’t need to know about.

We also have our main credit card setup to send us messages after any purchase. This is tracking I have had to occasionally subvert. In the past when buying my wife a gift, I’ve paid cash or put it on a different card so she doesn’t get the purchase notice.

I think the flip side of insisting that somebody be trackable shows no trust, is showing trust by not worrying that your family can track you.

I’m also being tracked by AT&T, Google, Tesla, Apple, a bunch of apps that require location to function, and, I assume, the government.

Leave your phone home to commit crimes!

I’m a private sort of person. Not up to anything, but I was raised by a very privacy-oriented mother, so it is a learned behavior. Though location is turned on for Google Maps, I am not tracked beyond that. I often leave my phone at home. Now as I age though, it would be nice to know that someone has my back. I think the tracking app might be a great thing for those showing early signs of Alzheimer’s and for tracking your kids who haven’t reached a thoughtful age, or a child with a concerning disability.

I track my son’s phone. He’s 12 years old.

I’m quite surprised at the ratio of responses so far. Doesn’t cause me to rethink my position - just serves to illustrate in yet another way the extent to which I am out of touch.

I am glad that I have managed to style my life that I’m not even thinking of the specific moment my spouse or kids get home. I very much prefer living a less precisely monitored and coordinated life than many of you.

This, well the age isn’t quite right but I have parental control enabled (iphone does do this very well), and his earbuds too. I’m wasn’t expecting that but once he paired them… The flip side (and I don’t really mind) is he can track my phone too.

I think both “sides” to this question are perfectly valid. In truth, we probably go weeks between using this feature, and wouldn’t miss it if we didn’t have it. But, for us, having it is nice for those times we’re wondering about someone and don’t really feel the need to call or text to ask “did you get home safely?”

Maybe a poll would yield a broader picture?

  • I share locations with at least one other person
  • I don’t share locations with anyone

0 voters

Two out of three sons and two out of three daughters-in-law can track me and I can track them. One set lives with me. Along with checking whether I’ll be there soon or am nearly home, there are more mundane things that can be checked.

Are they still at the store, so I can add green onions to the list? Or are they already on the way home? Have they left for work yet, or can they drop off the lunch I made, but forgot to take on the way? (We work about half a mile apart.)

Speaking of the grocery list, we keep it on a shared Reminders app list.

I’m not sure how to answer the poll - I share my location with my husband but I am 100% certain he doesn’t track me because I’m sure he doesn’t remember how to.

My wife and I share each other’s locations as of a few years ago. I’m not entirely sure how that came about – probably something similar to someone upthread saying it was to coordinate something, and we just left it on as it’s become quite convenient in determining when to get dinner on the stove, whether a spouse possibly forgot to pick the kids up from school, that sort of stuff. I use Google Maps location sharing. It’s not 100% accurate and sometimes doesn’t update for a bit, but it’s usually pretty close. A few months ago I arrived home from the Dominican Republic, I was back in Chicago, in a Lyft, using internet, getting GPS and all that, and, for whatever reason, my location was still reporting as being in the DR. I’ve noticed little hiccups like that form time to time. Or it may not update for twenty minutes along an urban (meaning with plenty of signal) highway or so.

My wife, son, and in-laws have tracking all on. The in-laws live 6 hours away so it’s only ever used when they’re making a road trip to visit us. Gives us a good idea of when to expect them to plan dinner or lunch. Better than having to bother them by texting or calling and having to guess what town they are near and how far away that is.
Similar for my wife and son I can check at a glance if they are still at work or school, or happy hour, or with a friend. Keeps me from having to pester them asking if I should start cooking yet, or if I’m on my own for dinner, or if they can grab something on their way home, etc.