09:37 GMT01 April 2020
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    In a move gone largely unnoticed outside the tech world, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to telecommunications giant Apple that would make it easy to see what your friends and family are up to – even minute by minute if you like.

    The patent “sharing location information among devices” expands the current Find My Friends feature – which is like a map of who’s where – and gives you a visual presentation of not only where a person is at that particular moment, but where they’re going. Apple calls it “path tracking,” or following several points along a specific route. 

    Apple reveals new patent on motion sensor technology
    © AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
    Apple reveals new patent on motion sensor technology

     It may sound like stalking, but the person on the other end of your voyeurism has to turn on the app, or enable it, so that you can see what they’re up to and where they’re going.

    Safety advocates say it’s also a good way to let people know your location and what you’re doing, in case something doesn’t go right, like on a dinner date with someone who ends up acting strange and scary, or if you’re on a solo hike in the woods.

    Apple says the devices can also be used on animals, so that you can keep track of your pet.

    The company hasn’t said when it might expect to roll out this new feature onto the market.

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