Retailers will use your smartphone to track your movement in the store and send you discounts

The future of smartphone tracking

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Cool or creepy? Your smartphone may be so smart it's outsmarting you.

Ever wonder what your smartphone knows about you? We found it's tracking your every move. It knows how long you spend somewhere,. and soon may entice you to buy a product.

The colors and reflection of each sunset paint a different picture of South Florida.

"My favorite part is showing it off to my friends on Facebook," said photographer Mindy Degnon .

Degnon spends al ot of time snapping photos at the beach, but you don't need to be a Facebook friend to know it.

By looking at Degnon's phone we knew she visited Jupiter, Juno, Palm Beach Gardens, and Boynton Beach.

Buried in Degnon's iPhone smartphone settings, is an option called "frequent locations."

"Have you ever been here before on your phone?" Strathman asked.

"No, I haven't," said Degnon.

"Did you know this existed?" asked Strathman.

"No," said Degnon.

It takes four swipes of your finger to find frequent locations in your privacy settings.

"Let's see how much time you spend at home?" we joked.

"Too much," Degnon replied.

Her phone is tracking her location minute by minute and displaying it on a map.

it showed she was at a location at 9:50 am, 8:16 am, and 10:16 am.

"Wow, the timeframe too. That's crazy," said Degnon.

"That's scary for someone to be able to see that. If someone actually keeps track of that, that's even scarier," said Degnon.

Android also tracks your locations. You can see where you've been on a map, day by day. If this creeps you out, you can turn it off.

"I think it's a very big deal to shut it off. If you are going to shut it off go back and get your flip phone from the old days that did nothing," said tech expert Craig Agranoff of Gripd.

Agranoff said these location settings help make your smartphone smarter.

"I want to know if i am lost I can hit a button and it will find where I need to go," said Agranoff.

The latest apps are getting smarter too.

"Google Now" uses your location to help you find the best route to avoid traffic, and it can even scan your gmail to find your flight itinerary.

Expect even more advanced apps to roll out soon that will be valuable to businesses.

"This phone will eventually become everything that is in your wallet right now, but it will also become so much more immerseive when we are doing our daily shopping," said Agranoff.

If you search your phone for a TV, and then walk thorugh an electronics store don't be suprirsed if a map shows up on your phone showing you how to get to the TV's. When you walk by that set you've been eyeing, you may even get a coupon sent straight to your phone.

"It does have helpful qualities to it that right now seem spooky, but as the future comes along and we do these things regularly it will be more acceptable," said Agranoff.

If you don't accept it, you can fight back by clearing your history.

Before you download any app, read the fine print to see if it tracks you.

Also check your privacy settings. On the iPhone you can turn off all location sharing or you can do it app by app.

If you don't want ads on your phone, go to privacy on the iPhone with iOS 7. Then click on advertising, and limit ad tracking.

Apple says you may still see the same number of ads they just won't be as relevant because they won't be based on your interests.

On an Android device, go to Google settings, then ads, and opt out of interest based ads.

While many users are getting very few ads now, expect the number to increase in the next year as this new technology takes off.

Print this article Back to Top