Uber's new 'quiet mode' lets you avoid small talk with drivers

If you want to catch a nap on your next ride, this Uber Black feature is for you.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown

Uber's new features will make your rides a bit smoother (and quieter).


Depending on where you are, it's a toss-up whether your Uber driver will talk your ear off. Sure, they're being nice. But if you're jetlagged or on the last leg of a wild Friday night, small talk may be the last thing you want.

Uber is introducing a new in-app way to opt out of a conversation with your driver in the most polite way possible. Starting Thursday, the Quiet Mode feature is available for Uber Black SUV rides, according to a release from the company. Riders can choose between "Quiet Preferred," "Happy to Chat" or "No preference," TechCrunch reported after tests.

Other features the ride-share company is adding for the Uber Black include help with luggage, temperature control and extended pickup times. Uber is also adding access to premium phone support so riders can get in touch with live agents, a promise of professionalism from its drivers and consistent vehicle quality. 

In addition, Uber is working to make sure passengers don't "door" bicyclists. Dooring happens when a driver or passenger opens a car door in the path of a bike rider, resulting in a crash. Uber's new pilot program, announced Wednesday, includes an in-app feature that warns passengers if they're being dropped off on a street with a bike lane. It also reminds drivers that it's illegal to stop in a bike lane in most cities.

Watch this: Uber rings in its IPO

Originally published May 15 at 7:28 a.m. PT.
Update at 8:02 a.m. PT: Adds more detail about Uber's new features.