Your McDonald's App Knows Way More About You Than You Think

Mcdonald's app on phone
Mcdonald's app on phone - Sorbis/Shutterstock

Thanks to mobile ordering, it's easier than ever to satisfy your late-night Big Mac and French fry cravings. McDonald's released their mobile app in 2015 to connect with customers in the age of technology. Through the years, the app became a great way for customers to place orders for pickup or delivery and earn rewards through the fast food chain's loyalty program. These days, ordering food through the McDonald's app is super easy, providing customers with exclusive discounts and promotional items that you won't get in-store or through other delivery apps. But are app users unknowingly providing McDonald's with more data than they care to share?

Data collection and privacy have been a hot topic with concerned consumers in recent years, as companies have been found selling collected information to third parties. McDonald's revealed that it tracks customer locations while using the app to provide fresh food. While this type of data collection seems harmless (and convenient for those who love hot fries), there is much more that McDonald's is learning about you as a consumer each time you order McNuggets. McDonald's may say that all the insight it collects is used to learn more about its customers, but it also uses this data to curate targeted ads.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

How Do McDonald's Use Their Customers' Data?

Mcdonald's app
Mcdonald's app - rafapress/Shutterstock

It might be worth reading the terms and conditions of the McDonald's app before you decide to download it. While it has made customizing orders a breeze and provides tons of discounts for frequent customers, the data you provide may not exactly be secure.

One TikToker and former McDonald's corporate chef provides followers with insight about all things McDonald's, including how the app knows so much about your finances and spending habits. According to the creator, McDonald's pays close attention to what their customers buy and how often they visit and uses this collected data for advertising purposes. He also hints that the company may be selling its data to third-party companies. However, McDonald's has debunked this concern. On the McDonald's website, it states that the company may "process and share information [gathered from the MyMcDonald's Rewards program] for targeted advertising... but we do not assign an independent monetary value to the personal information we collect in connection with the program." All monetized data, such as addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and other identifying information, is used to benefit "increased customer loyalty and sales."

When you use the McDonald's app, the app takes note of your ordering patterns, how much you spend on average, and even details like where and what time of day you order. Per the McDonald's privacy notice, data may also inform things such as "preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, or aptitudes."

The McDonald's App Is Far From Perfect

McDonald's logo on a phone
McDonald's logo on a phone - Abdul Hakam Jahidin/Shutterstock

Location tracking is another concern of McDonald's app users. One of the ways that McDonald's uses your location is to ensure that you get fresh, crispy fries upon pickup. However, many users may not realize that their location could be tracked even when they are not headed to their local Mickie D's. One Reddit user shared that their McDonald's app was set to "always" tracking their location. Through the comments, the user learned that restarting their phone would fix the issue. You can also manually change this in your phone settings to only track while the app is open. Still, many technologically challenged users may not be aware of these nuances and will continue to allow the app to always track them without their knowledge.

Ordering McDonald's from your phone in exchange for your data might not be a fair trade-off if the app isn't working consistently. One Reddit user and McDonald's employee shared that newer updates of the app have caused more difficulties among users and workers, saying, "It's given us so many problems, from people being unable to cancel orders to freezing one of our registers whenever we took a mobile order on it to sending orders to the wrong store." Others have reported issues with the login process, installation disruptions, and timeouts while ordering. While the app continues to give customers trouble, at least they can claim free McDonald's fries on Fridays.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.