How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know

Uber is a powerful service for getting a ride. However, if you’ve never used Uber before, or if you’re still new to the service, you may be wondering how to get the most out of the Uber app. While the Uber app is very intuitive and comes with extensive documentation on Uber’s website, there are certain key features of it that aren’t obvious.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through some of the most important features of the Uber app. We’ll cover how to do things like call an Uber, leave an Uber driver review, edit your Uber payment method, and much more. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to use the Uber app like a pro.

Jump to:

  1. How to Download the Uber App
  2. How to Call an Uber
  3. How to Cancel an Uber
  4. How to Leave an Uber Driver Review
  5. How to Tip Your Uber Driver
  6. How to View Your Uber Trip History
  7. How to Refer a Friend to Uber (and Earn Uber Credit)
  8. How to Update Your Uber Payment Method
  9. How to Use an Uber Promo Code

1. How to Download the Uber App

Before you can learn how to use the Uber app, you need to download it. While it is possible to use Uber without a smartphone, using the Uber app is far more convenient. The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Note that you need at least iOS 8 or Android 4.0.3 or newer to run the Uber app. Otherwise, the app may not function well (or at all).

Here are the links to download the Uber app:

Once you’ve downloaded the app, it will walk you through the process of setting it up. As long as you have a phone number, smartphone, email address, and valid payment method, the setup process will be easy. Once you have the app set up, you’re ready to take your first ride.

2. How to Call an Uber

Calling an Uber takes just a few taps. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Open the Uber app and select your destination

When you open the Uber app, you’ll see a screen like the following:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know

In the box that says “Where to?”, type your destination. The app will also show you places you’ve previously traveled in case you want to go to them again.

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Where to?

After you’ve typed in your destination, make sure to confirm that your pickup location is correct. By default, Uber will use your current location. Most of the time, this is what you want the app to use. If you’d like the app to use a different location for some reason, then you can type it in the first box:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Home

2. Choose Your Type of Uber Ride

After you’ve entered your pickup location and destination, you’ll see a screen where you can choose which type of Uber ride you want.

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Type of ride

The default is UberX, which is a basic ride that can seat up to four passengers. You can also choose other ride types, such as UberXL (rides that hold up to six people), UberBLACK (high-end vehicles with professional drivers), or UberSUV (luxury vehicles that can hold up to six people).

In some instances, you’ll also see an option to choose UberPOOL, which lets you save money by sharing your ride with other passengers who are headed in the same direction. Below each ride type, you’ll see a fare estimate and an estimated arrival time at your destination.

Once you’ve selected the ride you want, tap the “Confirm” button.

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Confirm UberX

The app will then ask you to confirm your pickup location one final time. If the location is correct, tap “Confirm Pickup” to make your ride request.

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Pickup confirm

3. Meet Your Driver at the Pickup Location

Once you’ve requested the ride, Uber will match you with an Uber driver. When they’ve found a driver for you, the app will let you know and display the driver’s name, vehicle description, and license plate number. This helps you confirm that you’re in the correct vehicle.

4. Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride

When your driver arrives, be sure to confirm their name and vehicle information. Then, get in the vehicle and enjoy the ride to your destination.

Bear in mind that some drivers will be more talkative or sociable than others. If you’d prefer to sit in silence, your driver will understand (just be sure to be polite and communicate any necessary info about your destination).

When you get to your destination, the driver will drop you off, and you can be on your way. If you want, you can leave an Uber review, which is what we’ll cover next.

3. How to Leave an Uber Driver Review

After each ride with Uber, the Uber app will ask you if you want to leave a review. This consists of a star rating from 1 to 5, as well as optional feedback. While you’re not required to leave a review, it’s a good idea both for your driver’s sake and for the Uber platform.

If you had a great driver, then let them know! If there was something they could improve, then make note of it. This helps make the Uber service better for everyone.

Here are a few quick things to know about Uber reviews:

  • Most passengers leave a 5-star rating unless there was a problem with the ride.
  • If you leave less than 5 stars, be sure to explain why. This helps drivers improve and (in extreme cases) helps Uber remove bad drivers from the platform.
  • If you leave a rating of 3 stars or less, you won’t be matched with that driver again.
  • All reviews are anonymous. Your driver cannot see who left a specific rating, and they can only see the average of their last 500 reviews.
  • Your driver can also leave you a review. This affects your Uber passenger rating, and it’s designed to hold you accountable for your conduct when taking an Uber ride.

4. How to Tip Your Uber Driver

After you leave a driver review, the Uber app will ask you if you want to leave a tip. Tips are optional, but they are a great way to show your appreciation for an excellent driver. Uber will suggest a few tip amounts, but you can also leave a higher custom amount if you think your driver really deserves it.

Remember, drivers are independent contractors, which means that Uber doesn’t reimburse them for their expenses. Furthermore, Uber takes a large percentage of each fare, which means that drivers make far less than what you pay. This means that tips are important to making driving for Uber a sustainable job.

5. How to Cancel an Uber

Sometimes, you’ll request an Uber and then need to cancel it. This can happen for a few reasons. Perhaps you realize that your friend who you thought was right behind you has suddenly disappeared back into the bar. Or maybe you thought you needed to get an Uber, but then your friend offers to drive you home.

Whatever the reason, Uber realizes that sometimes people’s plans change. This is why they let you cancel rides. To cancel a ride that you’ve requested, tap the “Cancel” button at the top of the Uber app screen:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Cancel Uber

Then, tap “Yes, Cancel” to confirm the cancellation.

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Yes, cancel

If you cancel a ride before you’ve been matched with a driver, the cancellation is free. If you cancel after you’ve been matched with a driver, however, you may have to pay a cancellation fee. The amount of the fee varies (usually it’s around $5), and it helps compensate your driver for the time they spent driving to pick you up (or waiting for you, if applicable).

6. How to View Your Uber Trip History

Ever needed to look back and review how much you paid for an Uber ride? Trying to remember the name of that great restaurant you went to a couple months ago? Want to leave your Uber driver a tip after the fact? These are all reasons to check your Uber trip history, which is easy to do in the Uber app.

To check your Uber trip history, open the Uber app and tap on the menu button:

How to Use the Uber App: Essential Things to Know

Then, tap “Your Trips”:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Your trips

You’ll then be able to see a list of all your past Uber trips:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Ride history

To view the details for a specific trip, tap on it. You’ll then see a screen like the one below:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Trip details

7. How to Refer a Friend to Uber (and Earn Uber Credit)

While Uber is more affordable than taking a taxi or paying for a limousine, its costs can add up if you use Uber a lot. To help offset the cost, you can earn Uber credit to get free rides. All you have to do is refer friends to the Uber app using your special referral code.

To find this link, open the Uber app and tap on the menu button:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Refer a friend

From there, tap “Free Rides”:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Free rides

You’ll then see a screen that displays your referral code:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Referral code

To refer friends, just tap the icon next to the code or tap “Invite Friends.” This will show you all the different ways you can share the code:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Share your code

Pick the way you want to share the code, and then select the person you want to send it to. Uber will then generate an invite message for you, along with the referral link. All your friend has to do is click the link and sign up for Uber. When they take their first Uber ride, both of you will receive $5 in credit to use for Uber rides.

8. How to Update Your Uber Payment Method

Sometimes, you’ll need to change or update the payment method you have on file with Uber. This can happen if your credit card or debit card information is out of date, or if you just want to use a different payment method than the one you have on file.

Changing your payment method is easy. First, open the Uber app and navigate to the menu:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Update info

Next, tap where it says “Payment”:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Payment

You’ll then be able to see a list of your payment methods:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - New card

To update a payment method, just tap on it. Then, tap the three dots that appear in the upper righthand corner:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Confirm new payment

You’ll now be able to change any pertinent information. Note that you’ll have to enter your Uber password to confirm any changes. This helps keep your Uber account secure.

9. How to Use an Uber Promo Code

One final common thing you should know how to do with the Uber app is how to apply a promo code. We’ve talked about how to send your promo code to other people, but what do you do if you get a special code from Uber or a friend?

To apply your Uber code and get your discount, just follow these steps:

First, open the Uber app menu:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Use a promo code

Then, tap on “Payment”:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Payment promo code

From there, scroll down until you see the “Promotions” section. Tap “Add Promo Code”:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Add promo code

Then, enter your code into the box and tap “Add” to apply it:

How to Use the Uber App: 9 Essential Things to Know - Type promo code

Assuming the code is valid, it should now show up in your account.

Get the Most Out of the Uber App

Whether it’s your first time or 101st time using Uber, we hope this guide has helped you understand how to use some of the most essential functions of the Uber app. With this information, you can feel empowered to use Uber to its full potential.

Of course, Uber isn’t the only rideshare service out there. If you’re interested in how to use the Lyft app, check out the official guide to taking your first ride with the service. If you’re a new Uber driver looking for some advice, then read our guide to every feature of the Uber driver app.