Monday, October 19, 2015

Google Maps No Longer Requires STORAGE Permission!

For a long time, Google Maps Android SDK requires us to have WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission. It was not the case when they first released the SDK.

I didn’t want to have that storage permission first, because In app permission “The permission description says that the application can access files on the devices such as images, videos or audio”
I had lots of 1, 2, 3 stars in app ratings because of this. Users say that “Why do you request access for my photos and videos?”. They are right! They are always right. I don’t want to access your photos and I won’t. I am forced to have that permission.
Android Marshmallow brought us run-time permissions. They are great! Users do not see permissions when they install or update the app. Users have more control over the app’s functionality.
for example, a user could choose to give a camera app access to the camera but not to the device location.
But imagine you have an app with Google Maps integration, and imagine you have to request WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE on runtime to show the map. How would you explain that to users? Runtime permissions that are not obvious and require explanation are the worse. This is one of them.
Fortunately, they fixed the issue and removed storage permission. But not for all, just for Android Marshmallow.
If you use Google Maps and you want to target Android Marshmallow, this is what you need to do:
  • First you need to use Google Play Services 8.1.0
  • Second, you need to add maxSdkVersion property in your permissions as shown below:

They also say in the documentation that they will remove it completely in the next release.
From the next release of the Google Play services SDK, the requirement for the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission will be completely dropped from the Google Maps Android API.

Note: Please do the described changes in your application if you have Google Maps and want to target Android M!

Thanks for reading :) 
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