Submitting to the Android Play Store

Background Location

Crowd Connected’s Colocator service fundamentally requires access to location while the app is in background / closed. Google Play policy is that developers must get specific approval for this. Factors that will be looked at include:

  • Does the feature deliver clear value to the user?
  • Would users expect the app to access their location in the background?
  • Is the feature important to the primary purpose of the app?
  • Can you deliver the same experience without accessing location in the background?

Google’s latest guidance states:

If your app requires background location, such as when implementing geofencing, make sure that it's critical to the core functionality of the app, offers clear benefits to the user, and is done in a way that's obvious to them.


An app that sends emergency or safety alerts as part of its core functionality - and clearly communicates why access is needed to the user - would have a strong case to request background location.

As part of the Google Play app submission process, Google requests the following:

Why does your app need access to location in the background?

Tell us about 1 location-based feature in your app that requires access to location in the background, and explain why it can’t be implemented without this access. The feature should be related to the main purpose of your app. Approval will be granted for your entire app, not just for this single feature.

Providing footfall analytics alone is therefore not a reason Google will accept for collecting location data in the background. However, providing highly relevant push notifications based on accurate geofencing is a reason Google does accept. Our system provides all customers of Engage, Insight and Analytics modules with emergency geo-targeted messaging that increases safety in crowded places. Therefore for all our licensees, a suitable explanation for using background location might be:

Background location is used to accurately determine the user's position. This information allows the app to target highly relevant push notifications, including emergency and public safety messaging relevant to the venue / event.

In the Location Permissions section of the submission form, Google also requests a short video that “shows the feature you’ve described as being used in your app. The video should include the prominent disclosure dialog that is shown to users. Recommended 30 seconds or shorter.”

We recommend a simple screen capture of the onboarding screen(s) where user permission is obtained, and of a push notification message such as “Please make your way to the west gate to exit as the east gate is currently closed” (or similar).