Google has introduced a new policy related to background location access in Android applications. It can 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 AAB on the Google Play Store, you may receive a message explaining that your app has been rejected due to one of the following reasons:
- "Feature does not meet requirements for background location access"
- "Background location access not declared"
- If you received a message 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.
If your app doesn't use geo-fenced push notifications as core functionality, then you can review this article 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?
No: Please see our article about Turning off location services in BiznessApps
Yes: You need 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 produce a video that demonstrates Geo-fenced push notifications as a core functionality of your app.
Note: To provide this video demonstration, we recommend you review Google's documentation on Requesting access to location in the background, specifically, in Step 4 you can see an example video demonstration and the corresponding requirements. Since the new AAB files cannot be directly installed on Android devices unlike the previously used APK files, you can use the Preview Your App app to load a demo version of your app and a screen recording tool to record this video.
- For the Policy compliance question select the answer Yes, this app meets the Location permissions policy.
If you see the following warnings while submitting the file for publishing, they can be ignored:
If your app republish is rejected, the previous version of your app will remain available on the Play store.
NOTE: If you had previously answered "Yes" in the Policy Compliance question, and find yourself unable to change it to "No" for republishing your application, please write the following text in the "Location access" field displayed in the screenshot above:
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 AAB upload process will complete successfully without any errors.