Update Aug 29, 2017: Uber announced today they will restore users’ ability to turn on GPS “while using” the app only, the app update should start rolling out this week on iPhones.
“We’re always thinking about ways we can improve the rider experience from sharpening our ETA estimates to identifying the best pick up location on any given street. Location is at the heart of the Uber experience, and we’re asking riders to provide us with more information to achieve these goals,” an Uber spokesperson replied when asked about the situation by The Verge.
Most apps on iOS allow users to choose whether they want to allow location access always, only when using the app, or never. However, in the case of Uber, option to only allow location access while using the app is not present. Until very recently, the same was true for Waze.
If you choose to always allow location access, you have no way of knowing that Uber or Waze don’t track your every move. And if you choose to disable location access completely, most features will stop working. The solution? Delete the problematic apps and install alternatives that respect your privacy.
GPS Drains Your iPhone Battery
One of the biggest battery drains on your iPhone is having your GPS on. So running apps that tracks your location, such as Google Map, Uber, and Waze, will drain your battery very quickly. The best thing you can do is to set ALL of your apps to enable GPS while the app is running only.
To change this setting, go to:
- Privacy (grey hand icon)
- Location Services
- Turn it on (or leave it on), and go through every single app in that list, to change all the apps to either “Never”, or “While Using the App”.
This way, your iPhone will only turn on GPS while you’re running apps you authorize GPS access. But the problem is there are a few apps that do not have the option of “While Using the App”, such as Uber and Waze. These apps require you to either have GPS “Always” on, or “Never”. If you leave it on never, then you might as well not have the app at all, since these navigation apps require GPS to work. But Apple has come up with their own fix for this issue in their next OS update for iOS 11 (see below).
How to Delete Uber and Waze
To delete any iOS app, including Uber and Waze, just tap and hold any app icon until all icons start to wiggle. All apps that aren’t part of iOS will have a small X at the top-left corner. Tap on the X and confirm your choice in the dialog box that appears.
Alternatively, you can go to the Settings app > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. There, you can tap on any app’s name and select the Delete option. If you want to delete multiple apps in a row, you may find this method quicker than the first one.
Update to iOS 11 as Soon as You Can
With the release of iOS 11, the option to allow location access only while using the app will be available even for apps that don’t explicitly support it. This change is part of a larger effort to improve user privacy in iOS. Another notable change will be the introduction of a blue status bar overlay that will appear when a background app is accessing location.
Once you update to iOS 11, it’s advisable to review your location settings. Go to the Settings app > Privacy > Location Services. A list of apps will appear, and you can choose on any app on the list to view its location settings. Unless you have a good reason to do so, avoid using the “Always” option to prevent battery drain.