Ride-hailing company Uber is reportedly testing putting ads into notifications, but it might not stop there.
A new report notes that Uber has a brand-new advertising division and in-app ads, but several people have reported that the company has been sending them notifications full of advertisements over the last few days. Notably, Apple's App Store rules explicitly forbid app developers from doing that, but it isn't stopping Uber.
All the ads
TechCrunch reports that some users have been receiving ads for companies like Peloton. The main complaint is that the notifications are being sent even when people aren't actively using the Uber app.
Uber's in-app ads are designed to show ads during a trip, but this is something beyond that. And it seems likely that Uber could also go a step further and consider putting ads inside the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro devices.
The Dynamic Island plays host to Live Activities, a new feature added to iOS 16.1 that allows for persistent, updating notifications. Apple used a ride-hailing app as an example of how a Live Activity would be preferable over multiple notifications for the same ride, but it seems unlikely that it ever had ads in mind.
With App Store rules already saying that developers can't put ads in notifications, it remains to be seen if Uber will get away with this latest test if it rolls it out to a broader audience. It'll be even more interesting to see what happens if a future update to the Uber app adds support for putting the same ads into Live Activities, too.
In this instance, Uber told TechCrunch this "was a limited test, and users can always manage their mobile notification settings under Privacy and then Notifications in the app."
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.