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Android Q Beta 5: Apps are granted full location access in deliberate test

Aside from a slight hiccup on its release, Android Q Beta 5 has been a pretty stable build as we await the final beta in the next few weeks. However, some users have been concerned by notifications that apps are being given unlimited access to location data, but this is a deliberate test by Google ahead of Android Q’s final release.

Noted in the official changelog for Android Q Beta 5, Google explains that with the final Android Q upgrade, apps are being given “all-the-time” location permissions when coming from a previous version of Android. In the latest beta, Google is testing this behavior with those who upgrade from Beta 4.

What this does is give any app that had any location permission full access. For obvious reasons, this can be somewhat alarming for some users with some apps in particular. This is especially true considering that one standout part of Android Q is how it handles permissions, including the long-awaited ability to restrict location access to only while apps are in use.

Apps with a location permission enabled in Android Pie will receive the “all-the-time” location permission on upgrading to Q. To test the upgrade behavior, apps which had any location permission in Beta 4 or lower will also be granted the “all-the-time” location permission when the device is upgraded to Beta 5. Users may get the location reminder notification if these apps access their location in the background.

Thankfully, Android Q does also support a new feature which sends occasional notifications to remind users that an app has location access. That notification was introduced back in Beta 3. Due to the changes in Beta 5, that notification is showing more often, as some on Twitter have noticed as well as members of the 9to5Google team. Personally, I’ve seen the notification pop up twice, the first of which was on the YouTube app.

Google advises those on Android Q to manually adjust location permissions for apps. Hopefully, this won’t be the case in the final release, but if so, the setting is available in Settings > Location > App Permission.

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