Android 12 new privacy feature lets you grant approximate location access to apps

Aug 16, 2021
Google Android, Mobile Computing

As Android 12 introduces approximate location options on your Android phone, a pretty significant change is coming for both users and developers. In the past, you were only able to allow a system-wide setting when granting access, and if you wanted to change an individual app’s location permission, it meant diving deep into your phone settings.

Apps that ask you to give permission to your location access get your precise location, which is usually accurate within a couple of meters. However, the approximate location changes this to a couple of hundred meters.

This ability to choose whether to set your app’s permission to precise or approximate location is another significant step towards improved privacy. Certain apps do not need to know your exact location, for example, shopping and even weather apps. These apps can still work effectively from an approximated location. However, there will still be certain apps such as Google Maps and Geocaching apps that will require a precise location to work effectively.


If you are running Android 12 and download a new app, you can easily set location permission. When running the app for the first time, you will be asked to grant location access. Now you will be able to choose ‘Approximate’ from this menu. If the app requires an exact location, you will receive a prompt notifying you and asking to change to ‘Precise’ location.

To change this setting for apps that are already installed and have previously been granted location access, you can still change this to approximate locations. To do this, you will need to navigate to your Android phone’s settings, and then tap on ‘Location’ and choose which app you want to change the location permission on. Once in this menu, toggle the ‘Use Precise Location’ button off, and the app will start using approximate location instead.

Closing words

Privacy is becoming an increasing concern to smartphone users. This new feature on Android 12 lets you use the location features of apps without revealing where you are to advertisers and other third-party companies. As an Android user, I appreciate this new approximate location feature and the added privacy that it provides.

Android 12 new privacy feature lets you grant approximate location access to apps
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Android 12 new privacy feature lets you grant approximate location access to apps
This new feature on Android 12 lets you use the location features of apps without revealing where you are to advertisers.
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