Android app location permissions only has "Allow only while using the app"

Darren Bennett's Avatar

Darren Bennett

20 Jun, 2020 01:46 PM

I am noticing the beta CalTopo app for Android only has the Location permission of "Allow only while using the app" or "Deny".... It does not show the track location all the time permission (ie. allowing location tracking in the background). Is there anyway to get the full location permissions. This creates a problem when my phone goes to the lock screen the app no longer tracks GPS data and then when I unlock my screen to see my map status the app has to get my location and it has not kept track of my location along the way.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ben Lantow on 20 Jun, 2020 01:49 PM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    This is intentional. Allow while using the app allows for actions initiated within the app to be continued in the background. Allow all the time would allow an app to obtain your location at any time, for any reason, even if you didn't initiate an action.

    Tracking works fine with that setting while providing better security.


  2. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 20 Jun, 2020 01:49 PM.

  3. Darren Bennett re-opened this discussion on 20 Jun, 2020 04:06 PM

  4. 2 Posted by Darren Bennett on 20 Jun, 2020 04:06 PM

    Darren Bennett's Avatar

    I'm aware of the implications but it should be an option for users. The
    last three times I've used the app it has not kept track logs while the app
    was not active (changed to another app, phone display turned off.
    Lockscreen). When I go back to the app it has to find the location and
    then the track line is interpreted from my last known location and does not
    accurately show the path and distance I've traveled. It is my
    understanding that when the apps are not active or the screen is locked
    that it is considered a background app and thus with the permissions it
    will not be allowed to get location. I tried testing this with another app
    I use Trailforks and when it is set to always available I get accurate
    track logs even when phone is locked. Here is an example from Mt St Helens
    using caltopo app that shows inaccurate track log.

  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by Ben Lantow on 20 Jun, 2020 05:29 PM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    Hi there,
    Android does not require that GPS access to be set to "always" in order to access GPS device data in the background. As long as the access is initiated by a user action Android allows GPS access to select applications in the background while the user is "using" that app, "using" doesn't require foreground. My device actually still gives me all 3 settings, but we've done extensive testing around this and I have never had any issue with setting GPS permissions to "When using app".

    The behaviour you're describing and showing here is typically related to battery permissions. If you have restrictive access to your battery, your battery is at a low %, or you have "battery saver" enabled, the GPS chipset will only report location to a foreground app regardless of any other settings. Ensure you're not turning on battery saver or other battery saving features. If you have a non-Google installation of Android (such as one from Motorola or Samsung) check your battery management settings. If you don't use an app frequently some battery management settings or applications will restrict GPS more frequently but it's highly phone dependent.


  6. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 20 Jun, 2020 05:29 PM.

  7. Darren Bennett re-opened this discussion on 20 Jun, 2020 10:54 PM

  8. 4 Posted by Darren Bennett on 20 Jun, 2020 10:54 PM

    Darren Bennett's Avatar

    Thanks.. I'll give it a try. I thought I had battery saver turned off but
    now im not sure.

  9. Julie closed this discussion on 21 Jun, 2020 02:20 AM.

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