Following reports that the Uber app appears to be tracking customer locations days or even weeks after their last ride, the company has issued an explanation. That statement also explains who some users were seeing the behavior while others weren’t.

The company says that it is not the app which is accessing location data, but rather the iOS Maps extension that some have chosen to activate …

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.

The company made the statement to TechCrunch.

As of iOS 10, Apple allowed developers to integrate their apps with Maps by using an iOS extension. If you choose to allow this – so that you can book an Uber from within Maps – it will appear as if Uber is accessing your location when it’s really Apple’s own app that is doing so. So neither grey or purple arrow next to Uber necessarily means that Uber itself has accessed your location data.

As TechCrunch observes, the same thing will be seen with other apps that use the same extension, among them Lyft, OpenTable and Yelp.

The solution the site suggests, and which seems sensible, is for Apple to introduce a new color – perhaps green – to indicate that it’s the Maps extension, rather than the app itself, accessing your location. In the meantime, you can control which apps are allowed to use Maps extensions in Settings > Maps and scrolling down to Extensions.


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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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