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Android Q doesn't let apps automatically toggle Wi-Fi: Here's why that concerns us

Home automation apps stand to lose out after Google removed the ability to toggle Wi-Fi in Android Q.

Published onMarch 18, 2019

It’s been a week since Google surprised us with the first Android Q developer preview, and we’re still sifting through all the changes. Now, a redditor has noted one key tweak that could have repercussions for task automation apps.

Reddit user xxTheGoDxx discovered a passage on the Android Q developer website, confirming that apps will no longer be able to automatically toggle Wi-Fi connectivity. Instead, Google recommends developers use the new settings panel functionality, which shows system settings directly inside apps.

This is an issue for people who love apps such as Tasker, which allows people to automate tasks and system settings based on a variety of triggers. The change theoretically means you can’t automatically enable Wi-Fi when you get home, for example.

Tasker creator João Dias has indeed confirmed that it would affect his app “in a big way,” but has expressed optimism that Google will address the issue in subsequent releases.

It’s true.This would affect Tasker in a big way.A lot of users like to turn on/off their wifi automatically in various situations. I’m hoping that since this is just beta 1 that Google will look at all the negative feedback on this and other restrictions and implement permissions
— João Dias (@joaomgcd) March 18, 2019

The team behind security app Cerberus has also confirmed to Android Authority that toggling Wi-Fi via text commands will no longer work thanks to the new policy.

This isn’t Google’s only major app-related change in recent months though. The search giant tweaked its calling and SMS permissions late last year, forcing developers to apply for an exemption if their app fell foul of the change. Tasker was initially caught out by the change, but Dias was able to successfully apply for an exemption. The Cerberus team was less lucky though, as it was forced to remove SMS-based commands in the Play Store app.

NEXT: Five years of Wear OS and it’s still too messy to recommend

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