Unless you’re extremely diligent about switching off your phone’s location settings whenever you’re not using Google Maps, chances are your phone is (almost) always stalking you. While that’s a little creepy, it’s also a little…convenient.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a fan of Google’s (or the NSA’s) constant surveillance of my whereabouts. But at the same time, I’m a big fan of Target coupons, turn-by-turn directions, and finding late-night Chinese food within walking distance from my exact location. Sure, it’s an invasion of privacy, but aren’t you willing to give up a little privacy for the convenience of an app that maps out the last 10 miles (er...2 miles) you just ran? I sure am!
When you’re shopping at Target
Target’s Cartwheel app can be a little too nosy for comfort—I’m not a huge fan of getting pop-up notifications when I’m in the Nordstrom Rack two stores away from a Target. But when I’m actually in Target? I really do want to know about the extra 5% I can save on dog food!
When being “mayor” means discounts and free food
Good news—Foursquare is bringing mayorship back to its Swarm check-in app, which means you now have a reason to actually use Swarm. Because there’s nothing quite like the free small French fries you’re rewarded with when you check-in to a place 492 times a day.
When you’re driving
Thanks to smartphones, we’re no longer good at finding our way around our own city while behind the wheel of a car. So you better hope your phone knows where you are, because you sure don’t.
When you’re looking for cheap gas
I don’t know about you, but I only realize I need to find cheap gas—stat—when my low fuel light has been on for about 20 minutes. And GasBuddy only works if it knows where you are!
When you’re working out
Mapping out your run is a lot of work, which is why you should let an app such as MapMyRun or Nike+ Running do it for you. (Plus, if you’re really a champ, you can use these apps to make fun, possibly NSFW drawings all over your city.)
When you need to retrace your steps
Where were you last Wednesday at 8 p.m.? Not sure? Your Android phone knows, if you have Google Location History turned on! While Google Location History is a bit creepy, it’s also the perfect tool for proving alibis and figuring out how many miles you can deduct from your taxes.
When you need a lift
Or rather, a Lyft. That’s right, those convenient ride-sharing apps only work when your driver can find you…via your phone.
When you’re trying to meet up with people
Most of the time, sharing your location with others is a little creepy. But when you’re trying to meet up with a group of people in the middle of an unfamiliar city, the location-sharing app Glympse is actually pretty useful.
When you need food. Right. Now.
Sure, you could open up Yelp and manually type in your location, or you could just leave your location services on and let all those glorious food-finding apps show you every restaurant within a 10-mile radius of your exact location.
When you’re walking home alone at night
Because you carry your phone with you 24/7, you’re never really alone—and sometimes, that’s a very good thing. These safety apps keep an eye on you by tracking your location and sending out an alert with your GPS coordinates to friends and family, should you tap the panic button. All those kids in horror movies would not have died if they’d had their location settings turned on.