In Android 12, apps that need Bluetooth Scanning won’t need to ask for location permissions. And this is actually a feature that came from the COVID-19 tracing apps that launched last year – at the height of the pandemic.
With the COVID-19 tracing apps, Google introduced an exemption that would allow apps to scan for Bluetooth, without needing to ask for permission to track your location. And now that is coming out to all of Android 12.
Basically, what this boils down to is, the fact that there will be less apps that need to ask for location permission. As it can simply ask for permission to “find, connect to, and determine the relative position of nearby devices”. And yes it is actually a new permission in Android.
Apps will need to update to use these new permissions
As you might expect, apps won’t be able to use this new permission automatically. Developers will need to update their apps to use the new Bluetooth Scan and Bluetooth Connect permissions.
Currently, the feature is technically live in the first beta, but since there are no apps that are compatible with these new permissions yet, you won’t really see this pop up yet. You won’t see it until apps are updated to use the Bluetooth Scan and Bluetooth Connect permissions.
It’s good news all around, as this means less apps are going to be using your location (which also saves some battery), when all they want to do is look for Bluetooth devices around you. Which is quite a few apps actually. You’d be surprised how many apps ask for location, just to look for nearby devices. So it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to privacy with Android 12.
This is just one of many changes in Android 12, and many of which are not even yet available in this first beta.