Error on Location.startLocationUpdatesAsync

🐛 Bug Report

Summary of Issue

Impossible to start background location updating. Getting this error:
Unhandled promise rejection: Error: Not authorized to use background location services.

Environment – output of expo diagnostics & the platform(s) you’re targeting

Expo CLI 4.0.12 environment info:
      OS: Windows 10 10.0.19041
      Node: 14.15.1 - E:\PHP\laragon\bin\nodejs\node-v14\node.EXE
      Yarn: 1.21.1 - C:\Program Files (x86)\Yarn\bin\yarn.CMD
      npm: 6.14.8 - E:\PHP\laragon\bin\nodejs\node-v14\npm.CMD
      Android Studio: Version AI-193.6911.18.40.6626763
      expo: ^40.0.0 => 40.0.0
      react: 16.13.1 => 16.13.1
      react-dom: 16.13.1 => 16.13.1
      react-native: => 0.63.2
      react-native-web: ~0.13.12 => 0.13.18
    Expo Workflow: managed

Reproducible Demo

const LOCATION_TRACKING = 'background-location-tracking';

export default class App extends Component
    componentDidMount() {

    locationTracking = async () => {
        const { status } = await Location.requestPermissionsAsync();

        if (status === 'granted') {
            let location = await Location.startLocationUpdatesAsync(LOCATION_TRACKING, {
                accuracy: Location.Accuracy.BestForNavigation,
                showsBackgroundLocationIndicator: true,
                timeInterval: 30000,
                activityType: Location.ActivityType.AutomotiveNavigation,
                distanceInterval: 1

TaskManager.defineTask(LOCATION_TRACKING, async ({ data, error }) => {
    if (error) {
        console.log('LOCATION_TRACKING task ERROR:', error);


    if(data) {
        const { locations } = data;

        console.log('send to api');

Steps to Reproduce

Just use to code.

Expected Behavior vs Actual Behavior

To not get the error. When trying to debug status i get granted.

4 thoughts on “Error on Location.startLocationUpdatesAsync

  1. Hi people, I wanted to give a quick update on this issue for all of you. It’s unfortunate that Google is rapidly changing the permissions around locations. Thanks to @peterdn, we have a fix ready for Android <9. Android 10 works as expected, but for Android 11 we need to do more testing and possibly refactoring. Here is why:

    • Android <9
      On this version of Android, background permission was similar to foreground permission. When asking permission for ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION and/or ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION, you already received access to fetch the location in the background. ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION doesn’t exist in this version and should not be requested to users (see this, added in API 29/Android 10). That’s why this is excluded when requesting permission for LOCATION in Android, through Permissions.askAsync(Permissions.LOCATION).

    • Android 10
      This version of Android includes the new ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION permission, which used to be auto-requested in Expo. Because Google’s policy is now more “aggressive” against apps that request this permission (because of the additional audit), we made it an opt-in. Right now, the code is handling this properly, through Permissions.askAsync(Permissions.LOCATION).

    • Android 11
      The latest version of Android includes another change related to the location. We can’t request both “foreground” and “background” location at the same time. It also “removes” the option for users to “allow location access all the time” from the permission dialog and puts this under the settings (you can see the screens below). This is something to be aware of when creating your app.

    I’ll create an example app that uses the background location permission and link the source here. That app should be published on the Play store, but I can’t estimate right now how long that will take. Once I have more to share, I will keep you updated.

    Android 11 Location permission screens

    permission dialog location setting
    android-11-location-dialog android-11-location-settings
  2. Another quick update on this one!

    • As promised, I created a sample app that I will publish to the Play store once the standalone builds are updated too. PR is out, but staging is not yet updated. (Standalone builds won’t have this patch until this is deployed)
    • But, staging was updated with Expo Client 2.18.5, meaning you can try this version of Expo Client on your phone. Set envvar EXPO_STAGING=1 and install it on your emulator or device. On windows you can use npx cross-env EXP... as prefix. Once this version is working as intended, we can deploy it to production.
    $ EXPO_STAGING=1 expo client:install:android

    After you installed Expo Client 2.18.5, you can test my app locally or through QR code (link is in the readme). Once everything is deployed to production I’ll let you know and close this issue. Feel free to ping me if background location is still not working as intended on Expo Client 2.18.5.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Last update 😄


    • Expo Client 2.18.5 is released to production, you can install it through $ expo client:install:android.
    • Standalone builds will also include this fix, go a head and start your new build through $ expo build:android.

    How to use it

    • For managed users, you don’t have to do anything special (no node module updates) just use Expo Client 2.18.5+ and build a new standalone app.
    • For bare users, we will push a new update for expo-location with the native code changes ASAP. Unfortunately, we have to check some differences out first. Meanwhile, you can use something like patch-package to include this change
    • For users with a custom turtle infrastructure, update turtle-cli to 0.20.5+

    Sample app

    Android support

    Happy holidays!