In recent years, Google has taken steps to stop third-party applications in the background from finding your location. Once an app is closed, live location data may be heavily throttled or stopped entirely. While this may seem like a win for user privacy and battery life, there are plenty of apps that don't use background location data for harmful purposes (like Cerberus or various health tools). According to XDA Developers, Android Q might introduce a new permission that brings back full background location access.

A new permission called "android.permission.ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION" has been found in a leaked Android Q build, with the description "The app will always have access to the location, even when you’re not using the app." Essentially, app developers will be able to use this permission to restore Android's earlier background behavior.

<string name="permgroupbackgroundrequest_location">Always allow &lt;b>%1$s&lt;/b> to access this device’s location?</string>
<string name="permgroupbackgroundrequestdetail_location">The app will always have access to the location, even when you’re not using the app.</string>
<string name="permdesc_accessBackgroundLocation">If this is granted additionally to the approximate or precise location access the app can access the location while running in the background.</string>
<string name="permdesc_accessCoarseLocation">This app can get your location based on network sources such as cell towers and Wi-Fi networks, but only when the app is in the foreground. These location services must be turned on and available on your phone for the app to be able to use them.</string>
<split-permission name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION"
targetSdk="10000">
<new-permission name="android.permission.ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION" />
</split-permission>
<!-- STOPSHIP(b/118882117): change targetSdk to Q when SDK version finalised -->
<split-permission name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION"
targetSdk="10000">
<new-permission name="android.permission.ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION" />
</split-permission>

It's nice to see Google address the complaints of countless developers in a way that (seemingly) doesn't sacrifice user security. This also follows a larger trend we're seeing with Android Q, where background services are being limited to permissions, like access to clipboard data.