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How to prevent poor location tracking

As a driver, you need turn-by-turn directions, and your passengers need to know where you are. The app regularly sends location info to our servers, which also lets us measure the distance and time you've driven and calculate ride costs and earnings.

To track rides accurately, we need the best location updates from your GPS while you're driving. Here’s how to make that happen.

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Best practices

Regardless of your device’s manufacturer, there are several things you can do to fix poor location tracking. Use the following tips to improve GPS accuracy:

  • Plug your phone in: Devices attempt to conserve battery when they're not charging. For some devices, running on battery alone may mean location tracking is poor. Always keep your phone plugged in, even when fully charged.
  • Turn on wifi and Bluetooth: Apple and Android devices use nearby wifi networks and Bluetooth signals to locate your device, especially when GPS signals are low. Turn wifi and Ask to Join Networks both on.
  • Use a phone mount: Location tracking works better when your phone has access to clear skies through a window. If your phone is in your center console or pocket, you may experience poor location tracking. We recommend mounting your device on the windshield or dashboard using a mount.
  • Close unused apps: Turn off any apps other than those you use to navigate with Lyft, especially apps that use your location in the background.
  • Keep your software and app current: Update to the latest phone software available. Apple and Android devices frequently release upgrades that may improve your phone’s location accuracy.
  • Buy a new phone: To get the most accurate GPS, we highly recommend upgrading to the newest phone model if you can. Older phones may have outdated GPS antennae, which can cause poor location tracking.
  • Don’t talk and drive: Avoid making phone calls on your Lyft-enabled device during a ride. Some networks don't allow data usage and phone usage at the same time.
  • Start and stop safely: Only start or stop your rides in the app when your car is completely stopped. Not only is this good safety sense, but stopping completely helps us track your location more accurately.
  • Wait a bit: GPS accuracy depends on the number of visible GPS satellites. Locating all visible satellites can take several minutes with accuracy gradually increasing as time goes by. Give your phone a minute or two to find these satellites before getting on the road.
  • Adjust your time settings: Make sure the date, time, and timezone are set correctly on your device. Go to Settings, General, then Date and Time. If possible, toggle your Date and Time to 'Set Automatically.' Incorrect computer settings can sync to your device so verify the date, time, and timezone on a computer that syncs with your device.
  • Always restart: Any time you've updated your software and app or even changed your settings, restart your device to give it a fresh restart. (We've all had to reboot our computers before!)

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Causes of 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 doesn't cause tracking problems because the app stores location points and sends them when network quality is better.

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The first time you open the app, we'll send prompt you to let Lyft access your location. This is required for you to give rides.

Here's what the notification looks like:

If you've already tapped 'Don’t Allow,' you must manually enable location tracking on your device.

To see your specific location tracking settings, follow the directions for your specific smartphone and operating system. Manage location settings for apps using iOS instructions or Android instructions.

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