Uber and Lyft are smartphone apps, so as an Uber or Lyft driver you’ll need to use a smartphone with a data plan to receive ride requests. The Uber and Lyft apps for drivers works with most modern smartphones, but there are some important phone requirements that you need to be aware of before you go out and buy a phone for your ridesharing job.
It’s also important to know what types of phones work well with Uber and Lyft, what phone features and accessories you’ll need, how much data the apps use, and how to download the apps onto your phone. I cover all of these topics in this article.
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Uber Phone Requirements
Android requirements to run the Uber driver app
- Any smart phone from 2013 or newer
- Android version 5 or newer
- For best results the phone should run Android 5.0 or newer
iPhone requirements to run the Uber driver app
- iOS 8 or newer. iOS 9 for best results
- Oldest iPhone you can use is iPhone 4S
- For best results: Use iPhone 5s or newer
Lyft Phone Requirements
The Lyft driver app requires iOS 11 or higher or Android 7.0 or higher. The oldest iPhone that can run the Lyft driver app is the iPhone 5s.
Other Uber and Lyft driver requirements
What are the best phones to run Uber and Lyft?
The newer the phone, the better Uber and Lyft will function. If you don’t want to get the latest model, make sure the one you get was released in 2013 or later. Anything older won’t perform well and is more like to freeze or crash.
- iPhone 6 and up
- Samsung Galaxy series
- Google Pixel
- LG G and V series
- Sony Xperia series
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How to run the Uber or Lyft driver app on a tablet
Some drivers choose to use a tablet to run the Uber or Lyft driver apps because they prefer a larger screen. Tablets can also create a better entertainment system for your car.
There are two ways to run driver apps on a tablet:
- Tablet with a data plan: You can buy a tablet that is 3G or 4G enabled and will be able to run the driver apps and receive calls/texts all by itself
- Tablet tethered to your phone via personal WiFi hotspot: Tether your WiFi-only tablet to your phone to run the driver apps from a tablet. Your tablet will display the apps and navigation, and your phone will receive calls and texts from passengers.
How to drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time
It’s possible to sign into both Uber and Lyft at the same time and drive for both apps simultaneously. It’s helpful when business is slow, or when you want to pick and choose between better requests.
To drive for both apps at the same time, start by signing into both. Make sure the most noticeable notifications are enabled for both. When a request in one app comes in, accept it, then switch to the other app and sign out. When the ride is over, sign back into the other app. It’s a bit of a hassle to manage, and it may cause you to some requests and lower your ride acceptance rate, but many drivers do it.
How to download the Uber or Lyft driver apps
The Uber and Lyft driver apps are available for download in the App store and in the Google Play store. The companies may also send download links to the app during the application process. You can also go to help.uber.com and help.lyft.com to find helps article about downloading the driver apps.
Phone features to think about when you’re choosing a phone
- Screen size: The bigger, the better, especially when your phone is mounted to your dash or windshield.
- GPS reliability and accuracy: Some lower-cost phones are known to have GPS connectivity issues. Make sure to Google search “your phone’s model + GPS connectivity” to see if other users have GPS problems on the phone you’re thinking about getting.
- Battery life: Not as crucial of an issue because you’ll likely keep your phone plugged into a charger while you’re driving, but for everyday use outside of your car you want the best battery life you can get.
Phone accessories all drivers need to get good ratings
One of the most common reasons for low Uber driver ratings is when drivers don’t mount their phones. A few cheap accessories will help you keep your job. The following links are my Amazon affiliate links, so I may receive a commission if you purchase these suggested products.
- Phone mount: Holding your phone while driving is one of the number one reasons for low ratings from passengers, so always use a phone mount. I recommend the iOttie Easy Mount. It’s cheap and works well.
- Charging port and cables: Your phone needs to be plugged into a car charging port for the majority of your driving shifts. Get an Amazon Basics dual charger so you can charge your phone and another device at the same time.
- 3.5mm aux cable: If you want to play music from your phone or allow passengers to play music from their phones, you’ll need a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. I use the Belkin 6-foot cable
- My full list of gear that Uber and Lyft drivers should use.
Common phone problems while using the driver apps, and how to solve them
- Can’t log into the driver app: There may be an issue with your account. You may have been deactivated or disabled. Read my article on why drivers get deactivated and how to get reactivated
- Overheating: It’s normal for the apps to make your phone hot to the touch, but if your phone feels extremely hot, you may be overtaxing your phone’s processor. Keep your phone out of direct sunlight if possible, don’t use bulky cases or fabric/leather cases, and only charge it when it needs to be charged. If the problem persists, you may need to get a newer phone.
- Freezing, crashing, slow operation: Prevent freezing and crashing by making sure to only run necessary apps like navigation and music. Restart your phone if you’re having this issue.
- Can’t see or hear notifications: Dig into your settings and make sure that all notifications are enabled for the app, and if you use an external Bluetooth device, check to see if the notification sounds are playing through that device instead of out of the phone.
It’s always a good idea to update to the latest version of each driver app whenever an update is available. Another good tactic when you’re having phone issues is to fully restart the phone.
How much data do the Uber and Lyft driver apps use?
You might be worried that running the Uber and Lyft apps while you drive will use a lot of data and cause overage charges, but in reality the Uber app and navigation apps don’t use too much data. Uber says that the driver app should use no more than 3 GB per month, but Lyft doesn’t state how much data the app will use.
Drivers on Reddit report that Uber and Lyft driver apps each use around 1 – 3 GB per month, with heavy usage. If you’re only driving part time, the app will use much less. Here are Reddit threads about Uber data usage and Lyft data usage.