Google’s forthcoming Android 12 update will enable users to provide an ‘approximate’ location when mobile apps request permission.
The new privacy-centric option means users will have another option beyond allowing access to a precise location or not at all.
It’s a new feature that acknowledges that many of these apps do not need to track the precise location of the user in order to carry out their task. In most cases, unless its an app the relies on accessing location for navigation purposes, a tough idea should be enough.
The ability to select precise or approximate location in Android 12 will join the existing options that enable users to grant permission all the time, when using the app, ask every time or deny completely.
Google explained that improved privacy controls are at the centre of its plans for Android 12. The company is adding new granular data collection controls that will allow users to see which apps are gathering what data and when.
If they wish, users will be able to adjust those settings from a new dashboard or turn off access to things like the camera and microphone for all apps from the quick settings. It’s not clear whether the microphone will be added to that.
Google also spoke of its Private Compute Core, which powers the Now Playing tools and Smart Reply suggestions based on your personal style. That sensitive audio and langue processing happen completely on the device.
Android 12 is already available in beta for Google Pixel 3 and up, as well as a slim selection of devices from third-parties like OnePlus, ASUS, Xiaomi and ZTE. We’re expecting a full launch later this summer for the best Android phones and some rubbish ones too.