Android 11 privacy: grant background location from Settings

For its third edition, the 11 Weeks of Android series is immersing itself in “privacy and security”, which is the third main pole of the upcoming operating systems along with People and Controls. Most of the main features have been announced, but this week offers a deeper dive with a few highlights.

One of the most significant privacy changes in Android 11 tries to further restrict location in the background. The operating system already reminds users of such access to the app, and Google found that this causes people to degrade or completely deny location permission more than 75% of the time.

The company believes that most developers can “provide the same user experience by only accessing the location when the app is visible to the user.” As a result, Google is reviewing all Android apps that request location access. Applied at the Play Store level, there are very few exceptions, although Google is now giving existing apps until 2021, rather than November 2, to meet and eliminate unnecessary use of the background location.

Applications (location sharing, emergency / security) that need the background permission will have to direct users to the full Settings app. An app will first need to request the location in the foreground, and then it can direct users via message to open system preferences. This makes the entire process a “more deliberate action”.

Developing the ability to limit location to “While the app is in use,” Android 11 adds unique permissions for microphone, camera, and location. Google notes that when Android 10 introduced that granular permission option last year, users selected it more than half the time. Meanwhile, the new option does not require any work on the part of the developers.

Applications intended for Android 11 that have not been opened for an “extended period of time” by a user will have their automatic restart permissions. You will be notified when this occurs, and there is a new “Unused Applications” page in Settings for quick management and removal.

If you have an app that has a legitimate use case to retain permissions, even if a user doesn’t frequently interact with your app, you can ask users to disable this feature for your app in Settings.

Google is also helping developers audit applications to limit access to sensitive data. The new APIs “identify the code that is accessing closed permissions even within third-party SDKs.”

Scoped Storage was a controversial change introduced in Android 10 designed to limit wide access to files on a device. The developers were able to opt out, but it is now mandatory for apps targeting Android 11. Another change Google has made is to create a special permission for file managers and backup apps that need to manage all files in storage. shared. Google Play will manually review all of these requests.

Other changes include more Project Mainline modules, with Google highlighting how these Play system updates helped “quickly fix a critical vulnerability in the media decoding subsystem” earlier this year. It also continues to work on an identity credentials API that will allow driver’s licenses and other IDs to be stored digitally. Google says it is “working with various government agencies and industry partners to make sure Android 11 is ready for such digital identity experiences first.”

FTC: We use automatic affiliate links that generate income. Plus.

Check 9to5Google on YouTube for more news: