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Privacy protections for physical activity in Android 10

By Google Team

November 8, 2019

Since Google Fit was released in 2015, apps with an abundance of features for health and fitness tracking have integrated with the Google Fit APIs. Over the years, the number of users using Google Fit as a central repository for their fitness and wellness data has grown significantly.

With Android 10, we're making further updates to give users even more control over this personal data. One key change concerns how Android apps can monitor a userís physical activity and retrieve data from Android sensor APIs and the Google Fit platform.

In Android 10: Activity recognition permission

Android 10 introduces a new runtime permission for activity recognition for apps that make use of the user's step and calorie count or classify the user's physical activity, such as walking, biking, or moving in a vehicle through one of the following APIs:

If your app relies only on raw data from other built-in sensors on the device, such as the accelerometer and gyroscope, you don't need to declare this new permission in your app.

Activity Recognition Permission Enforcement

  • Starting December 2019, data will be restricted from apps not including the Google Play Services legacy activity recognition permission in the manifest. If your app doesnít currently request this permission, you should add it today to ensure no loss of service for your users.
  • When a user upgrades to Android 10, the system auto-grants this permission to your app if it previously requested the legacy permission.
  • As you begin targeting Android 10, you should register the ACTIVITY_RECOGNITION permission and adopt the new permission model to adhere to the new policy.

Google Fit physical activity APIs

This new permission affects a subset of data types available in the Google Fit APIs on Android. If your app accesses these types from Google Fit today, then you need to update your app inline with the new permissions.

The activity recognition runtime permission is required for accessing the following APIs / data types:

  • RecordingAPI - recording the following data types:
    • com.google.step_count.delta
    • com.google.step_count.cadence
    • com.google.activity.segment
    • com.google.calories.expended
  • HistoryAPI - reading the following data types:
    • com.google.step_count.delta
    • com.google.step_count.cadence
    • com.google.activity.segment
    • com.google.activity.exercise
    • com.google.activity.summary

With Android 10 now launched and SDK 29 becoming your primary development target, now is the time to make sure your apps are compatible with the new runtime permission.

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