In an effort to better protect user privacy and improve its image, Uber has decided to remove a background GPS tracking feature that allows riders to be tracked for up to five minutes after a ride ends, reports Reuters.

Uber is expected to announce the privacy change starting on Tuesday, with the update expected to roll out to iPhone users this week. The same update will be made to Android devices in the future.

uber big brother
The feature, which was first introduced in late 2016, has garnered a lot of criticism from Uber users. When location tracking is enabled for the Uber app (and location services is required for the app to properly function) Uber is able to collect location data from the time of a trip request through five minutes after the trip ends, even when the app is in the background.

Uber says it planned to use the extra location data to improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and to enhance customer service, but the company claims the post-trip tracking feature was never actually turned on for iPhone users.

In an interview with Reuters, Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan said the update is unrelated to recent internal turmoil within the company, which saw Uber CEO Travis Kalanick ousted from the company.

"We've been building through the turmoil and challenges because we already had our mandate," said Sullivan, who is a member of the executive leadership team that has been co-running Uber since Kalanick left in June.

Sullivan went on to say that the company should not have asked Uber users for more information without providing details on the value of the feature. Should Uber re-enable the feature in the future, he says the company will let customers opt in and better explain why the feature is useful.

According to Sullivan, Uber is committed to user privacy, but has suffered from a "lack of expertise." Additional changes to improve privacy, security, and transparency at Uber are said to be in the works and coming in future updates.

Tag: Uber

Top Rated Comments

whatiris Avatar
62 months ago
Isn't this just Uber trying to get ahead of the fact that IOS 11 will force apps to accept the option of location availability only while in use?

Smells like pure opportunistic PR to me.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lostngone Avatar
62 months ago
Boooo! You try to make it look like you're doing the right thing but the new iOS will give the user the ability to stop this!

With iOS 11 Uber doesn't get to make that decision. The new location services forces this by allowing the user to decide if the App can track your location after you exit the App.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Peace Avatar
62 months ago
I see no use "to improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and to enhance customer service" for 5 minutes after you've paid and left.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0815 Avatar
62 months ago
The only thing that Uber wants to protect is their bottom line - they don’t care about drivers or customers as long as the maximize their own profits
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Foggydog Avatar
62 months ago
I completely stopped using Uber because of their business practices.
Lyft every time and exactly the same ride service.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d5aqoëp Avatar
62 months ago
Isn't this just Uber trying to get ahead of the fact that IOS 11 will force apps to accept the option of location availability only while in use?

Smells like pure opportunistic PR to me.
Absolutely Spot-On
Uber turned all the initial goodwill into bad-will with that one **ck move!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
EA Apple Maybe Feature

Apple Reportedly Talked With Electronic Arts About Potential Acquisition

Monday May 23, 2022 10:58 am PDT by
Apple is one of several companies that have held talks with Electronic Arts (EA) about a potential purchase, according to a new report from Puck. EA has spoken to several "potential suitors," including Apple, Amazon, and Disney as it looks for a merger arrangement. Apple and the other companies declined to comment, and the status of the talks is not known at this time, but Apple does have an ...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...