1. anon(10181084)'s Avatar
    Could someone explain why file transfer apps need my location services enabled? I first experienced this when I discovered CM Transfer last year (which I used even after the recent CM scandal and after it got kicked off the Play Store, all the way until a security update caused it to quit working on my phone). I was then forced to find an alternative that utilized one of the communicating devices as a hotspot like CM transfer did. I stumbled upon Mi Drop (yes, I trust Xiaomi waaaaaaaay more than Cheetah Mobile) and it has been serving me really well for transferring data between my phone and tablet, but it still DEMANDS location services! Is this really mandatory for peer-to-peer short-range WiFi file sharing?
    03-26-2019 04:59 PM
  2. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Depends on how the service works. If it's not a simple file transfer transaction between to paired devices (like the stock sharing menu from Android does), chances are it uses location to establish a connection and instead of looking for nearby devices with a signal or pairing ping, it does so by looking for ACTUALLY nearby devices (i.e. location).
    anon(10181084) likes this.
    03-26-2019 05:06 PM
  3. anon(10181084)'s Avatar
    Depends on how the service works. If it's not a simple file transfer transaction between to paired devices (like the stock sharing menu from Android does), chances are it uses location to establish a connection and instead of looking for nearby devices with a signal or pairing ping, it does so by looking for ACTUALLY nearby devices (i.e. location).
    Well, Mi Drop uses both BT and WiFi, and requires you to scan a QR code on your target device (unlike CM transfer which just searches for devices set to "receive" mode and lists them). I'd imagine it does some handshakes/pings over said BT connection. I've set my phone to use GPS only and I highly doubt I have GPS signal inside my apartment, but Mi Drop works fine and treats it like everything is normal. Should I be worried? Another weird thing is that CM Transfer didn't need location permissions back on Nougat, so not sure what Oreo did to make apps like this require location services.
    03-26-2019 05:29 PM
  4. Rukbat's Avatar
    Cheetah Mobile requires all sorts of permissions. Why? They've been found to steal anything they can from a phone their apps are installed on and send it all back to their server in China. The best thing you can do with CM apps is uninstall them.

    As to why Mi does that - no idea. Most file transfer apps work by setting up an FTP or HTML server on one, and you use a browser on the other to connect to it. (It would be nice if they put a QR code on the screen with the IP and the port.) I wouldn't use a file transfer app that wanted location service access. (The location is what's connecting to you - why do you have to know which room I'm in? That's suspicious.)
    03-27-2019 04:32 PM
  5. SpookDroid's Avatar
    If it's how Drop File or whatever it was called and what Pushbullet started doing for iPhones when they were even more restrictive of file transfers (and way before Air Drop invented BT transfers), they use location data to actually make sure the pairing between devices is accurate (start a session in one phone, only pair with nearby phones). Again, this didn't exactly use direct BT/WiFi connection, so that's why it used location. If these apps have a similar function (not sure if they do and sorry, won't install to test), that's why they would be polling for location. If you're certain that they're only transferring files via BT or WiFi-Direct, why even bother with 3rd party apps that might be asking for way too much information?
    03-27-2019 04:40 PM

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