How to Prevent Poor Location Tracking

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The Basics
As a Lyft driver, you need turn by turn directions and your passengers need to know where you’re located. When you're in driver mode, the app regularly sends location information to Lyft's servers. This is how we’re able to measure both distance and time driven, calculate ride cost and driver earnings, and show passengers where you are in the app.

To track rides accurately, we’ll need top-notch location updates from your phone's GPS while you're driving. Here’s how to make that happen.

Location Tracking Tips and tricks
Regardless of your device’s manufacturer, there are things you can do to combat poor location tracking. Use the following tips to improve GPS accuracy:

    • Plug your phone in. Smartphones attempt to conserve battery when not charging. For some models, this can mean less reliable location tracking when the phone runs on battery. Always keep your phone plugged in, even when the battery is fully charged.

    • Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Apple and Android devices use nearby Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth signals to assist in locating your device, especially when a GPS signal is low. Set Wi-Fi "ON" and Ask to Join Networks "ON".

    • Use a phone mount. Location tracking works better when your phone can see clear skies through a window. Keeping your phone in the center console or in your pocket while driving can contribute to poor location tracking. We recommend mounting it on the windshield or dashboard.

    • Close unused apps. Turn off any apps other than those you use to navigate with Lyft, particularly those that use location in the background. Additional apps may interfere with the Lyft app’s ability to read location correctly.

    • Keep current. Update to the latest phone software available. Apple and Android devices release frequent upgrades that may improve your phone’s location accuracy.

    • Buy a new phone. To obtain the best GPS accuracy, we highly recommend upgrading to the newest phone model. Many older phones have outdated GPS antennae, which can lead to less accurate location data.

    • Don’t talk and drive. Avoid making phone calls on your Lyft-enabled device during a ride. Some networks do not allow data usage and phone usage at the same time.

    • Start and stop safely. Only start or stop your rides in the Lyft app once your car is at a complete stop. Not only is it good safety sense, but it helps us track your location accurately. 

    • Wait a minute. GPS accuracy varies depending on the number of visible GPS satellites. Locating all visible satellites can take several minutes, with accuracy gradually increasing over time. Give your phone time to warm up before you get on the road.

    • Adjust your time settings. Make sure the date, time, and timezone are set correctly on your device. Go to Settings > General > Date & Time. If possible, use the “Set Automatically” option. Please note: Incorrect computer settings can sync to your device. Verify the date, time, and timezone on any computer that syncs with your device.

    • Don’t forget to restart. We’ve all had to reboot our computers for efficiency. It’s good practice to restart your phone before getting on the road and always after changing your device’s settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes poor location tracking?
There are three main issues that can lead to inaccurate location data:

  • Incorrect phone settings
  • Poor in-car phone placement
  • Defective phones, (in rare cases)

In general, poor connectivity does not cause tracking problems because the app stores location points and sends them when network quality is better.

How do I enable location tracking?
When you first open up the app, allow Lyft to access your location:

If you clicked “Don’t Allow,” then you must manually enable location tracking. 
To check your specific location tracking settings, follow the directions for your specific smartphone and operating system below.

To manage location settings for apps, follow iOS instructions here or Android instructions here.

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