Android Developers Blog
The latest Android and Google Play news for app and game developers.
Platform Android Studio Google Play Jetpack Kotlin Docs News

18 November 2020

Tips for getting your app approved for background location access

Link copied to clipboard

Posted by Krish Vitaldevara, Director of Product Management Trust & Safety, Google Play

Graphic of phone with googleplay logo and icons to the left

When it comes to privacy, we are committed to giving users control and transparency over data access. Users consistently tell us that they want more control over their location data, so earlier this year we announced a few privacy improvements, such as updates to Google Play’s Location Permissions policy and enhancements to location permission controls in Android 11.

To help prevent unnecessary access to background location, the updated policy allows access only if it’s critical to the app’s core functionality and provides clear user benefit. We found that many apps that requested background location don’t actually need it. Removing or changing it to foreground can help apps be battery-efficient and avoid poor app ratings when users don’t want to share their location.

If your app uses background location data, you must submit a form for review and receive approval by January 18, 2021 so your apps can stay on Google Play. Existing apps first published before April 16, 2020 have until March 29, 2021 to comply.

Tips to get approved

  • If your app has multiple features that use background location, choose the one that provides the most user benefit. Describe in detail why background (and not foreground) location is needed and how it is used. Learn more
  • You must include a short video that shows how users will encounter your prominent disclosure, location-based feature and enable it in-app. If your video doesn’t show this or we can’t access the link, your request won’t be approved. We recommend that you upload it to YouTube or Google Drive.
  • Remember to include a prominent in-app disclosure to explain to users what data is used and how. Learn more
  • Ensure your privacy policy is clearly labeled and includes details on location data usage. Learn more

Resources to help

We want to help you through this process, so we’ve created this video and free training courses in Google Play Academy to use as a reference when you’re making any necessary app updates. You can also check out these best privacy practices and technical details to help identify possible background location usage in your code.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to make Google Play a trustworthy platform for you and your users.

How useful did you find this blog post?