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Uber is testing unwanted push notification ads and people are not happy

Updated 4 weeks ago
Published Nov 2nd, 2022 7:42AM EDT
Uber ads in push notifications

Uber will soon unveil one of the most important features for iPhone users, the ability to follow a ride with the Live Activities function introduced with iOS 16.1. First teased during the WWDC 2022 keynote, this experience will make it easier to follow a driver and the ride right from the Lock Screen or the Dynamic Island cutout. While this feature is not available, the ride-sharing company thought another test would satisfy its users by bringing unwanted notification ads because why not?

TechCrunch said this “feature” came just after Uber launched its new advertising division. Not only did the company confirm the test to the publication, but some users started to receive ad notifications for services they didn’t ask about.

Twitter user Michelle Grant, for example, received a Peloton ad without opening the Uber app or – of course – after being asked if she wanted to receive these notifications. Although Uber offers more than just rides, as users can shop grocery or food, it’s completely unrelated to an ad about Peloton’s two months free offer.

Uber told TechCrunch this “was a limited test and users can always manage their mobile notification settings under Privacy and then Notifications in the app.”

Uber has been offering in-app ads, although it hasn’t said anything about notification ads. According to TechCrunch, an entire trip will be “sponsored” by a single brand. Called journey ads, the brands show different user ads while waiting for a car, when riding, and after reaching the destination.

Brands can personalize ads based on users’ travel history and geographic destinations. It’s unclear whether Uber uses the exact data for these push notification ads and if the company will make this feature available indefinitely.

More tech coverage: This handy iPhone shortcut removes all ads from your App Store searches

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin American broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.