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iOS 11 forced Uber to abandon its creepy location tracking rules

Published Sep 21st, 2017 10:33AM EDT
uber location tracking

Of all the companies currently struggling with their public image — and there are plenty of them — Uber seems to be the worst at failing to get out of its own way. The company has been under fire by privacy advocates for years, and even though it could have very easily altered its location tracking rules on its own, it only just did so thanks to iOS 11 forcing its hand.

Uber has long held that its newest flavor of location tracking guidelines — which are basically an all-or-nothing approach, where you either give Uber full permission to track your whereabouts whenever it wants, or refuse entirely, making the app practically worthless — existed in the name of safety and convenience. Many people, including plenty regular Uber customers, have cried foul, and asked why the app couldn’t simply track location while it’s in use, and then turn that capability off when it’s not. Thanks to iOS 11, they’re getting their wish, and Uber really doesn’t have any choice in the matter.

iOS 11 forces a location tracking setting of “While using the App” on every single app that has location tracking features. Uber, in its new iOS 11 update, has complied, while making it sound like it was the company’s decision to do so for the sake of its users. Now, instead of the “Always” and “Never” location tracking settings, the “While using the App” option is available for everyone, even if you haven’t upgraded to iOS 11 yet.

It’s hilarious and kind of sad that it took action on the part of Apple before Uber simply added an option that its users have been asking for for years, but considering the company’s recent track record of public screw-ups and embarrassing, user-hostile changes, it’s hardly surprising.

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