Some people use Apple's location sharing and features like Find My to keep tabs on their spouses, but a recent poll showed how divisive the technology can be.
Recently, one mother posted an informal poll in the BabyCenter community, a website that offers pregnancy and parenting tips for people. The community is a forum to keep in touch with other parents, and a recent discussion involved tracking spouses.
"My husband is traveling right now to see a friend. He's been gone since Friday and will be home tomorrow. When talking about his trip to a friend she asked me why I don't just track his location to see what he's up to.
I would never do this, but I'm curious how common it is. She insists it's fairly common and if the technology exists why not just use it?
I'm of the opinion that it's a violation of privacy and even if DH agreed to it, sometimes less information is best. I also would not want to be tracked."
One in three of the 1,020 members who responded to the poll say they track their spouse's whereabouts and primarily use "Find My" and "Share My Location" on their iPhone.
The most common reasons for tracking included timing the significant other's return for preparing meals, making sure they safely reached their destinations, creating schedules to pick up the kids, and in case of emergencies. However, most of the comments on the poll were from people who disagreed, saying that they did not track their partner.
Many believed it violated their privacy and could increase anxiety from sharing too much personal information. Others said they weren't interested because they could text or call their partner.
Some comments also shifted to mention children and how some use the tracking technology for that purpose, especially ensuring teens who have started driving are okay. Aging parents are also a factor for some.
"I do know many in my friend circle and family have shared their location with spouses and even other family members," one commenter said in part. "I for instance can track my parents, which admittedly is helpful as they age in their home and will likely start dealing with dementia in the next few years."
Some like it not
The intentions behind such family tracking can be mixed, such as tracking a spouse in case of emergencies compared to tracking out of possessiveness or jealousy. But it adds another angle to the topic of tracking — especially with Apple technology.
For example, the same commenter mentioned, "I have "threatened" to throw an airtag in the car several times but never pulled the trigger." Apple's AirTags that it released in 2021 often appear in the media because they can track a person or object's location.
The company certainly doesn't market it as a device to track pets or children, but some people will inevitably use the devices in that manner.
Stories of stalking via AirTags appear every so often. In a report from March 28, Australian travelers discovered an AirTag in their luggage, forcing them to make significant changes to their plans.
And on March 23, former Love Island star Montana Brown shared how someone stalked her location using an AirTag.
But as the BabyCenter forum members share their stories, it's clear that — as always — technology can be used for good, in addition to ill.