According to a CNET news report, Uber appears to be the only app on the App Store that has this permission.
Researchers Will Strafach and Luca Todesco noted that the capability was put in place to make the Uber app work better with the Apple Watch. But it also could give Uber access to all the personal information passing across a smartphone screen, making that data just as vulnerable to cybercriminals as if they were able to hack into Uber’s software.
Uber has had other privacy concerns, which included a company executive showing a reporter he’d tracked her location using Uber’s software, as well as the revelation that the company continued tracking users’ locations after their rides had ended. That last practice, which Uber ended, led to 20 years of audits from the Federal Trade Commission.
Uber spokeswoman Melanie Ensign said the company hasn’t used the software that relied on the permission for “quite some time,” and that the ridesharing app is actually working with Apple to remove the capacity altogether. She noted that the capability “allowed Uber maps to render on your iPhone in the background and then be sent to your Apple Watch.”
“Apple gave us this permission because early versions of Apple Watch were unable to adequately handle the level of map rendering in the Uber app,” Ensign said. The company no longer needs the app permission after upgrades to Apple Watch and the Uber app.