Uber as a service is great, but if you use it, you'll need to pass your location data to the company. Even worse, you give them valuable access to your GPS, even if the Uber app is not open. This is both a big privacy issue and a drain on your battery. Fortunately, some of you can fix it.
Uber made headlines in 2016, when it turned out that the app continued to track users in the background, even after their rides were over. This was just two years after the use of "God View" by Uber executives who could track anyone anytime. Uber finished the advanced background tracking in 2017, but that does not mean that you should not worry about privacy right now.
At the moment, only iPhone and iPad users can prevent Uber from tracking their location if they are not using the app, but it requires iOS 1
Click on "Location". On the next screen, a switch for "Share Live Location" will appear under Sharing with Driver . If you just want to prevent the drivers from finding you when you asked for a ride, just turn them off. Otherwise, tap Location again, followed by … yes … "Location" to go directly to the Uber location preferences in iOS App Settings. Alternatively, if you're not already in the Uber app, it might be faster to just open the Settings app, select "Uber" from your list of apps (either by scrolling down or typing "Ub" in the Search bar), then tap Location. In the Settings app, you even get to it by navigating to Privacy -> Location Services -> Uber.
Once you've accessed Uber's location settings, you can choose from three options. If you are reading this article, "Always" is probably already selected.
- Never: This completely disables site access for Uber. You can still manually enter addresses so that you can continue to use the Uber app.
- While using the app: This will allow Uber to access your location only if the app is actually open on your screen. But even with this setting, there are some special circumstances in which Uber can still pick up your location in the background, but the company claims that in such cases you always receive a notification on the screen.
- Always: This gives Uber unrestricted access to track your location, but Uber claims that they only collect coordinates "when you open the Uber app until your journey ends or is canceled". So if you did not open the app, but recently used it to greet a ride, they will still know where you are, even if the app is not on the screen.
So that Uber can not track you in the background The app is not open, "while using the app" is your best bet. However, if you are ultra-paranoid, you can disable it completely and enter addresses manually whenever you need a trip from point A to point B.
Now you're ready to have Uber's curious glimpses of your coming and to keep out, unless you are really waiting for a ride to appear. There's no reason they should track your location in the background, unless you're the guy who really hits your Uber half way (for some weird reason).