Polar Beat Android location permission FAQ
Why does Polar Beat app need location permission and why Location services need to be enabled to scan for Bluetooth devices?
After Android 6.0 was released in 2015, new permission requirements for Bluetooth Low Energy connections were introduced by Google. Android 6.0 or later requires applications to request permission before the app can use system data and features. The location permission is needed to scan for devices using Bluetooth Low Energy connections.
If the Location services are disabled and/or the location permission disabled for the Polar Beat app, the Android phone and our Beat app cannot find the Hardware identifier of the Bluetooth Low Energy sensor (e.g. Polar H10) and therefore connection to the sensor is not possible.
The location permission is of course needed for GPS tracking as well.
After Polar Beat 3.1.1 update, the app forces me to turn on location permission and enable location permission for Polar Beat app. Why?
In Polar Beat version 3.1.1, we tweaked the user interface to give more information when the location permission is disabled and why connecting to the heart rate sensor is not possible. The requirement itself has been in the app since Android 6.0 version was released.
The following can be seen if the location permission is disabled for the app after the 3.4.7 update:
Why can I use my Bluetooth headphones, speakers, car radio etc. without location permission, but to use my heart rate sensor, location permission needs to be enabled?
Headphones, speakers etc. use the standard Bluetooth technology whereas Polar (and other manufacturers’) heart rate sensors use Bluetooth Low Energy technology. The location permission is a requirement only with devices using Bluetooth Low Energy.
Is there any official documentation about the phone and Android app needing location permission to scan for Bluetooth devices?
The only official documentation can be found on Google developer pages. This is mentioned in the following Android 6.0 changes developer article: https://developer.android.com/about/versions/marshmallow/android-6.0-changes
Check the part Access to Hardware Identifier.
The location permission requirement to scan for Bluetooth devices is also mentioned in the following Bluetooth low energy overview developer document: https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/bluetooth-le
As long as the Android requirement is valid, unfortunately we cannot remove the permission since it would not be possible to connect any heart rate sensors to the app without it.
As a reminder, the requirement is valid only for the Android version of the Polar Beat app. In iOS, location permission is not needed to scan for BLE devices.