Uber Tries To Explain Why It Still Tracks Users Long After Completed Rides

Some users have noticed that Uber's mobile app continues to track a user's location after a ride is completed. In some cases, the location tracking stays active for days or even weeks after the last completed ride. Is Uber spying on users who hail rides from the popular ridesharing service? Uber says no and instead points the finger at iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone devices.

More specifically, Uber says it is the fault of the iOS Maps extension that Apple opened a few months ago, insisting that it was not due to buggy code in its own app or part of its recent location services update. The latter is what many assumed was the culprit since Uber announced last month that it was going to start collecting background data, but Uber says that only lasts for five minutes after a passenger is dropped off.


There is a way to check for this. On iPhone devices, users can go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to see which apps are tracking them. Purple indicators mean that tracking occurred recently, while a gray arrow means it happened sometime in the past 24 hours. It is through here that iOS users have complained that Uber appears to be tracking their location long after they've hailed a ride.

Uber's explanation of the issue being related to iOS Maps is plausible (likely, even), as that would explain why only some people are seeing the extended tracking behavior.

"For people who choose to integrate ride sharing apps with iOS Maps, location data must be shared in order for you to request a ride inside the Maps app. Map extensions are disabled by default and you can choose to turn them on in your iOS settings," Uber said.

Uber has been having some rough luck lately. After announcing the availability of self-driving cars in San Francisco last week, California's DMV ordered the ridesharing service to sideline its cars until it could obtain the proper permits. Around the same time, Uber made headlines for its self-driving cars having blind spots that could be deadly for bicyclists.