Google introduced a new policy related to background location access in the Android applications which will result in your application being rejected or taken down from the Google Play Store if the permissions declaration form wasn’t completed.
There are two situations where this change in policy may concern you:
If you are trying to get your app uploaded to the Google Play Store, after uploading your APK on the Google Play Store, you will receive a message explaining that your app status is rejected and the eligibility issue message may be:
- Feature does not meet requirements for background location access
- Background location access not declared
If you received a communication from Google regarding one of your already uploaded apps that looks like this one:
Currently, within BiznessApps, there is only one feature that uses location in the background, Geo-fenced Push Notifications. According to Google’s article on Requesting access to location in the background, In order for an app to be compliant, Background location may only be used to provide features beneficial to the user and relevant to the core functionality of the app.
In an attempt to address this situation, our Development team is currently working on allowing apps that don’t use geo-fenced push notifications as a core functionality to disable background location access altogether. That way there will be no need to submit any additional information to Google since apps will no longer be accessing the user’s location in the background.
Before continuing ask yourself the following question:
Are Geo-Fenced Push notifications a core functionality of my app?
If the answer is No:
There are two options for you, depending on your situation:
- If you don’t need to republish your app, kindly wait for our Development team to release the fix. That way you can make sure your app is compliant before Google’s deadline on January 18, 2021.
- If you do need to publish/republish your app, Google has sent us a workaround for apps that are not yet compliant and need to be uploaded to the Google Play Store. In order to apply this workaround, kindly follow these steps:
Once your app is approved, you’d still need to wait for our Development team to release the fix, keep in mind Google’s deadline is January 18, 2021. Stay tuned to our Release Notes for updates.
If the answer is Yes:
You'd have to submit a video showcasing Geo-Fenced push notifications as a core functionality of your app,
- Access the Google Play Console.
- You will be notified on the App content page (Policy > App content > Sensitive App Permissions) in the Play Console to complete the permissions declaration form.
- Complete the permissions declaration form. You will need to work on a video that demonstrates Geo-fenced push notifications as a core functionality of your app, please review Step 4: Provide a video demonstration from the Requesting access to location in the background document.
- For the Policy compliance question select the answer Yes, this app meets the Location permissions policy.
Once you've selected the appropriate option, your app should no longer have any issues with Google's new Background Location Access Policy.
If you are uploading a new app, the APK upload process completes successfully without any errors.