iOS 8: “Google Maps is using your Location”

Filed under: Apple,Rant | 9 Comments

Blue bar of death

Apple’s new iOS 8 has a lot of changes under the hood for developers, but is also Apple’s first iOS release since taking a pivot towards privacy as a selling point (mainly to combat Google which in the eyes of Apple is anti-privacy, but that’s another discussion).

By far the most annoying change is a giant blue banner on the top of the screen when an app is using your location in the background. This banner can’t be dismissed and there isn’t a setting to have it not show. This sounds OK on paper (we want to prevent apps from tracking you without your knowledge), but in practice is insane. I know perfectly well that Google Maps is using my location, if it were not using my location I would be very interested as I will get lost as a result. It’s fine if you want to let me know this, but please give me a way to dismiss it.

I know, this only happens when you have an active navigation going and are not in that app, but for me that’s really frequently. I noticed it the first day I upgraded to iOS 8. I have noticed it almost every day since. I use Waze primarily for traffic updates as it is more timely than anything else I have used, but I typically use Google Maps for navigation purposes as it has a better points of interest database than Waze (or Apple Maps). Or I’ll be the passenger who is navigating and also looking for a place to eat. Or I’m using it to navigate a walk and get a new email.

The most annoying aspect of these banners—I have similar thoughts about the mobile hotspot banner that just won’t go away—is that it removes a handy feature of iOS. Normally you can hit the top of the screen and you will instantly zoom to the top of whatever list you’re looking at (email, tweets, a webpage, whatever), but if you have one of these banners going you just go to whatever the banner is squawking about (in this case, Google Maps).

The final sin is that this turd also appears when you’re not actually using another app at the same time as navigating. Simply closing Google Maps is enough to have the blue banner show up for about half a second. Even if you hadn’t navigated anywhere. This flash is enough to infuriate me.

Bad UX on top of bad UX. You can do better than this Apple. I get that you want to brag about how private you are, but please let me whitelist apps that I know are accessing my location.

Read the latest posts

9 Responses to “iOS 8: “Google Maps is using your Location””

  1. Katherine says:

    I am getting this annoying bar even after I have closed the Google maps app!!

  2. Clovis says:

    A better approach would be just hint the usage with a small icon on the status bar (flas that little arrow, for example) and keep the larger notification active on the notification center, to be viewed only when the NC pane is pulled out.

  3. Jim says:

    Totally agree, this feature is terrible.

  4. Maureen says:

    This flashing banner is driving me mad it’s like Chinese torture. Please Apple take it off our screens. If anyone knows a way to get rid of it please pass on!

  5. david says:

    Its driving me insane! I even deleted Google Maps and it still won’t stop the banner!

  6. David says:

    I even went so far as to delete the app and it’s still there.

    Is Apple just trying to scare us into just using their software?

  7. Aidan says:

    If anybody is still having this problem, you may be able to get rid of the banner by going to settings – general – Background App Refresh and disabling the refresh for google maps. If it’s not on the list because you uninstalled it, reinstall then disable. If you open maps again after disabling the refresh then the banner will appear again. Even if you turn the refresh on again after turning it off the banner won’t reappear until you reopen Google maps.

  8. tell me why the blue lines over my apps not go away also why can i not use my browser

  9. Ira says:

    It turns out this is a programming issue tied to exact settings on your phone. Without getting too deep I’ll just mention that the blue bar is actually extremely useful in some situations, such as when you need to constantly switch between apps VERY quickly, such as switching between the Lyft app and the Google Maps app. I can’t always double click the home button and tap the app I want, but the blue Location bar let’s me instantly switch between those apps. For those wanting to get rid of the bar, google search “iOS blur banner” and you’ll find some answers.


Leave a Reply