Good news Uber users: If you have an iPhone, you can
now limit the company’s ability to keep tabs on your
Uber’s app uses location tracking to steer drivers your way when
you request a ride, so you don’t have to manually enter an
address. But last year, via an
update to the app, the new-age taxi service started forcing
users to choose between “always on” location tracking and no
tracking at all. That allowed the company to keep tabs on users
even when they weren’t using its service.
Apple’s latest update to its iOS software, the operating system
that underlies the iPhone and iPad, returns to Uber
customers some control over access to their locations. iOS 11
mandates that all apps that request the ability to track users’
locations give them the ability to limit that tracking to
just “while using the app.” Previously, app developers could
disable that option.
The change forced Uber to update its iOS app to lets users choose
between “always,” “while using the app,” and “never,” in terms of
location settings. The change to its app benefits even those
users still running older versions of iOS; those running iOS 10,
for example, will be able to opt out of always-on location
tracking too. On its
developer page, Apple recommends that “when using the app”
should be the default preference for all apps in terms of
Uber has a rocky history, when it comes to privacy issues with
Prior to updating its app last year to limit users’ location
users that it might choose to track them even when they had
closed its app. After it made that change to its policy, a
privacy rights group
filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission.
The company also
got caught using a tool called “God View” to track a
Buzzfeed reporter without her permission.