Uber Now Allows Drivers to Use Own iPhone with the Uber Driver App
It’s officially happened. Uber has removed another requirement for its service. It wasn’t long ago, that those who signed up to become a rideshare driver through the service, were required to pay a $10 weekly subscription fee for the use of a phone, provided by Uber.
Now, though, they have confirmed that both new drivers and existing drivers can take advantage of their own phone, whilst operating as a rideshare driver for the company. For existing drivers, this will mean returning their Uber-provided phone back to the firm, in order to avoid additional chargers for the weekly usage of the mobile device.
Though, for those who don’t want to use their personal mobile phone or purchase a new one specifically for use whilst driving with Uber, the company will continue to offer its weekly subscription plan, which supplies its drivers with an iPhone.
However, for those who already owned an iPhone or planned to purchase one anyway, this is a wise idea on Uber’s part. One that also benefits the drivers of the service, as well. Those who already own a phone that they would like to use with Uber, can now deduct any associated phone bills from their taxes. Similarly, those who buy one, can now deduct the entire cost of the phone from their taxes. However, that is, of course, assuming the phone is being used solely for Uber – for which you should keep any relevant bills and receipts.
We’re going to explain why the changes were made, and as to whether the experience will remain the same when switching from an Uber-supplied phone to your personal one, below.
Why is Uber only now allowing us to use our own phone?
Every company goes through a teething phase at the start. Uber is no different, in this regard. At the start, the easiest solution was likely to supply drivers with an iPhone with a fixed weekly fee. This covered all associated bills and ensured drivers never went over a fixed data plan, or didn’t have the correct firmware, for example.
As more drivers began to sign up, the amount of work involved with arranging an iPhone for each and every one, likely became a rather time consuming process. Similarly, it increases the demand for customer support related queries.
The introduction of the Uber Partner App (also called the Uber Driver App, by some), streamlines the entire process, by removing an additional step on Uber’s part. This allows drivers to get up and running faster than ever before – with the phone they are used to using on a daily basis. This makes the entire sign up process easier for new drivers, and removes an additional fee from existing Uber drivers. It’s simply more convenient, at the end of the day.
Furthermore, Uber has stated that this was a requested feature, with “many” telling the firm that they wanted to use their “personal phone instead of a separate device.” You can’t beat demand – that’s what the entire service is built on, after all.
Is the app going to be the same as the one on Uber’s supplied iPhone?
In the simplest form, yes. It will be the same application that drivers are already used to and have been using for quite some time now. The firm has stated that the “functionally of the Uber Driver App on your phone is the same” and that “you should not notice any substantial changes.”
We would expect that it would see more continuous updates and improvements, though, as there are likely to be a wider array of devices using the phone now – each with different specs. This will mean that it will need to be regularly maintained and optimized.
How do I use my own iPhone with the Uber Driver App?
If you have an iPhone, there is very little restricting you from using the Uber Driver App almost immediately. The only requirements, as of the time of writing include:
- You must have an iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S or 6
- The phone must be running iOS 7 or later (check under Settings > General > About > Version)
- It is recommended that your data plan allows usage of at least 2GB/month for Uber alone
Other than this, practically any phone carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) will work perfectly fine. If you meet all of this criteria, you should head on over here to fill out the required form and download the app.
Must we own an iPhone to take advantage of this?
Until recently, the answer for this was yes. Though, now, as of the time of writing, this is no longer required. The app is now also available to those using Android devices. For these devices, the only requirement is that the device is running Android 4.0 or later.
When it comes to Android, there’s a wide array of hardware configurations to take into consideration. So, it is best to check out the app and see how it works for you. Some devices might handle it better than others – but Uber promises most will work.
Unlike those users with an iPhone, who are currently required to fill out a form, before they are able to download the app, those with an Android phone are able to instantly download and install the application simply by visiting the Google Play store. A handy link can be found here.
As of the moment, no other devices are supported. That includes Windows phones. It is unclear if these will be accepted at a late date or not. Stay tuned for future updates and developments on this front – we’ll endeavour to bring you all the information you might need.
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