[Android] What is “Please enable Google apps location access” error in Google Maps and how to fix it [dotTech Explains]

So you upgraded your Android phone or tablet to Android 4.1.2 or higher and now you get a “Please enable Google apps location access” error whenever accessing Google Maps or Google Now. What is this damn error and how do you get rid of it? This article spills the beans!

Screenshot_Google_Maps_ErrorWhat is it?

Prior to Android 4.1.2, to find your location in Google Maps all you had to do was enable GPS. Starting in Android 4.1.2, however, Google has made a change. You still need to enable GPS. However, in addition to enabling GPS, you need to explicitly give access to all Google apps to allow them to find your location. If you don’t do this second step then you will get a “Please enable Google apps location access” error in Google Maps, Google Now, and any other Google app that tries to use your location.

Why did Google make this change? I’m not sure.

How to enable Google apps location access

As I just mentioned, before you can proceed further, you need to make sure you have GPS enabled. To enable GPS, go to ‘System settings’ -> ‘Location access’ -> flip ‘Access to my location’ to on -> check the box for ‘GPS satellites’; you will also have to agree or disagree to send Google anonymous location data. Once you have GPS enabled, you need to do the following to give Google apps access to your location so you can start using Google Maps, Google Now, etc.:

  • Go to ‘System settings’ -> ‘Accounts’ -> ‘Google’
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap on ‘Location settings’
  • Flip the switch for ‘Let Google apps access your location’ to ‘On’
  • Done!

Once you do the above, you will no longer get the “Please enable Google apps location access” error in Google Maps, Google Now, or any other Google app.

If you ever want to revoke location access for Google apps, simply repeat the same process mentioned above except flip the switch for ‘Let Google apps access your location’ to ‘Off’

Conclusion

Google definitely made this whole process a lot more confusing than it needs to be. However, it is a one-time thing — you set it once and you never have to worry about it again. Enjoy!

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15 comments

  1. Roger

    Even if you turn off location access the Android 4.1 will still report your location to Google, Facebook, etc. even if you just use the browser and not the app. I have not downloaded a single app and have always turned my GPS off when I reach a destination yet I get advertisement for local restaurants when on vacation. Despite my belief that my location is my business, Google, Facebook think differently. Please feel free to add me to any class action lawsuits.

  2. Dave h

    Why did Google make this change? Because they’re run by marketers now. Android and Google are going from being insanely useful to forcing me to opt-in to their services so they can better track my usage across apps and websites so to better target ads to me. That’s might be all nice and hunky-dory, but what if I don’t want everything tracked in all of my apps and websites I visit?

  3. Nick

    [@Grantwhy]

    Google maps does not need location data enabled to know where you are. This is a ploy to get you to turn on the location services, which do much more tracking of your searches and location data. I generally like Google, but this is a pretty lame change.

  4. Grantwhy

    Q: Why did Google make this change?

    At a guess it is to do with privacy, specifically having the the user give Google (or people with a valid warrant?) the ability to track/find you?

    >> Flip the switch for ‘Let Google apps access your location’ to ‘On’

    interestingly enough, I suspect all similar mapping programs/apps should be able to track/find a user, if they have a unique id … like (I believe) the one’s built into smart phones?