Gadgets for humans

Google introduces one-time location access for apps in Android 11

Android location

Last year, Apple introduced a new control for location tracking with iOS 13, which allowed apps to access your location data only once. Now, Google has followed its footsteps with similar location controls with its Android 11 developer preview.

The preview, released today, also introduces one-time location access for apps. The new Android version also includes similar permissions for microphone and camera access.

Additionally, Google has removed the “allow all the time” permission from the dialogue box by default. That means an app can’t ask for background location information at the launch. As a developer, if your app needs to have background location permission, you’ll need to ask your user to go through the settings and enable it explicitly.

Android permission for location
Android permission for location

The page for the new permission suggests an app retains the permission if a foreground service is running since the permission was granted.

Your app was visible when the user granted the permission and has been running a foreground service ever since then. As long as the foreground service keeps running, your app will retain the permission even if the user moves your app to the background.

It’s not clear how long this can go on for. We’ve reached out to Google for clarification, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

Google’s step of including one-time permission for camera and microphone, along with the location, is wise and forward-thinking. It might be useful for apps that need to verify users with a selfie or voice. However, since Android rollouts are much slower than iOS, it might take a while until we see these controls in every mainstream app.

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Published February 19, 2020 — 19:35 UTC

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