Tips for getting your app approved for background location access

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

November 23, 2020

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 Playís 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 itís critical to the appís core functionality and provides clear user benefit. We found that many apps that requested background location donít actually need it. Removing or changing it to foreground can help apps be battery-efficient and avoid poor app ratings when users donít 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 doesnít show this or we canít access the link, your request wonít 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 weíve created this video and free training courses in Google Play Academy to use as a reference when youíre 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.

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