iOS 11 Forces Uber to Move Away From ‘Always On’ Location Tracking

iOS 11 Forces Uber to Move Away From 'Always On' Location Tracking


  • Uber updates its app for iOS to include “While Using the App” option
  • The options can be found under Location Services in Settings
  • Uber received a lot of criticism for removing the option late last year

Ride-hailing company Uber is beginning to change its ways following a pretty disastrous year. Staying true to a promise made last month, Uber has finally brought back the ability for users to choose to share their location only “While Using the App”, an option the company received a lot of criticism for removing last year. The latest update v3.261.4 brings back the “While Using the App” under Location Service in Settings.

Uber’s move may not entirely be voluntarily, as iOS 11, which released earlier this week, no longer allows apps to hide the ‘While Using the App’ option from its users, which means Uber users on the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS would have been able to opt out of always-on tracking even without any changes from Uber’s end. But it’s worth adding that that the latest update will bring back the “While Using the App” option for users even on iOS 10. iOS users can check their current setting by heading to Privacy > Location Services > Uber.

The update has been something Uber has assured will come to users to give them a greater sense of control on how they want the company to track them. The ride-hailing giant has faced heavy criticism over the past year for how it bypasses user privacy and keeps tracking customers even after they have been dropped to their destination.

To recall, Uber late last year brought an update that only gave users the option to “Always” share their location or “Never”, and removing “While Using the App” altogether. This was met with widespread criticism as the update limited the option for users who either had to share their location all the time or never, the latter making the app unusable. With location service always on, there was no way of knowing how long the company tracked their riders even after their trip ends, although Uber had claimed to only track for five minutes post the trip.

Uber has faced a series of tumultuous events over the past year which included questions on customer privacy, sexual harassment claims, and so on, all of which led to the departure of founder Travis Kalanick. With Dara Khosrowshahi as the new CEO, there was renewed optimism that the company would get back into track and the new update could be seen as a first step towards that.