IOS 11 will prevent apps like Uber from tracking your iPhone's every move

Uber will have a tougher time tracking you with iOS 11.
Source: Uber/Business Insider
Uber will have a tougher time tracking you with iOS 11.
Source: Uber/Business Insider

It wasn't long ago that Uber switched to its all-or-nothing location policy. In newer versions of the Uber app, if you grant it permission to see your location through your iPhone, which allows the cab-hailing startup to track you whenever it wants. Other apps like Waze are guilty of the same thing, but in iOS 11, Apple will put a stop to all that.

In the upcoming iPhone and iPad software, apps are forced to include a "While Using" option in their location tracking settings. Even for apps that don't provide the option, when the app isn't running, the app isn't tracking you.

With iOS 11, users will now see a "While Using the App" option in apps that normally demand your location indefinitely. Here's the new Uber settings window, for example.

Uber may want to always track you, but it soon won't be able to
Source: Xavier Harding/Mic

Previously, as the disclaimer at the bottom suggests, Uber only offered options for "Never" and "Always." Since people are seeing this in the beta version of iOS 11, there's always a chance this is simply a glitch, but other findings show the move is likely deliberate. Ryan Jones pointed out on Twitter that when starting up Uber for the first time in iOS 11, the "While Using" option for location access can be seen in the initial permissions request screen as well.

Uber has shown it can't always be trusted with privacy. In 2014, Forbes reported on Uber's "God View," which allowed the company to track the origins, destinations and journey of all its users. The information was reasonable for a company like Uber to have access to, but the data was being shown as entertainment during parties, as well as used to spy on "celebrities and personal acquaintances." The view was noted as being available to Uber drivers as well.

Former employees have spoken up, saying (as of December 2016) that the company's God mode still exists.

This isn't the first time we've seen Apple vouch for user privacy. During the WWDC keynote, Apple demonstrated its Intelligent Tracking Prevention, a tracking prevention solution shipping with High Sierra for Mac. Using artificial intelligence, tracking prevention will stop ad companies from following you around the web. So when you buy a Nintendo Switch (somehow, by the grace of god), ads for the Switch won't start popping up every site you visit on the internet. In addition to protecting user privacy, this move sticks it to Apple's competitors, like Google.

Reining in privacy permissions for third-party apps like Uber and Waze in iOS 11 will undoubtedly benefit users, if only in that it gives iPhone owners more options. This feature alone could make iOS 11 a must-download.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Xavier Harding

Xavier is a tech and gaming writer from New York. Email him at xavier@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Can't download iOS 11 public beta? Having trouble installing it? Here's a quick fix.

Want to download iOS 11 public beta but can't figure it out? Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting.

The Hubble Telescope just took pictures of a galaxy twice as massive as the Milky Way

This discovery shatters what scientists had previously believed.

The world needs this smart laser that kills every mosquito in sight

It could help save millions of lives.

iOS 11 Beta: Every new feature that’ll change how you use your phone, all in one video

Your iPhone will never be the same.

Anonymous claims NASA has found intelligent alien life. Here's the truth.

Never blindly trust a robotic voice behind a mask.

Can't download iOS 11 public beta? Having trouble installing it? Here's a quick fix.

Want to download iOS 11 public beta but can't figure it out? Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting.

The Hubble Telescope just took pictures of a galaxy twice as massive as the Milky Way

This discovery shatters what scientists had previously believed.

The world needs this smart laser that kills every mosquito in sight

It could help save millions of lives.

iOS 11 Beta: Every new feature that’ll change how you use your phone, all in one video

Your iPhone will never be the same.

Anonymous claims NASA has found intelligent alien life. Here's the truth.

Never blindly trust a robotic voice behind a mask.