Android apps will soon not be allowed to track location in the background by default

Android apps that track the location of users in the background will only be allowed to do this from later this year with permission from Google. According to Google, it is unnecessary for many apps to monitor the location in the background.

Many apps that track location in the background would provide the same user experience if they only do this when the app is visible to the user. This is stated by Google after its own research into background location usage of Android apps. According to the company, many Android apps do this unnecessarily. By default, apps will no longer be allowed to do this.

In April, Google will update the Google Play store terms and conditions to curb background location tracking. Developers can then request permission to do this from May. When reviewing, Google considers whether the feature provides real value to the user, whether it is important to the primary purpose of the app, and whether the same experience can also be provided without having to approach the location in the background. From August 3, all new apps with the feature must then be approved and from November 2, all existing apps must also be approved, otherwise Google will remove them from the Play Store.

The stricter policy comes in the run-up to Android 11. That OS offers users the option of giving apps one-time access to your location.