Google is likely to bring in some changes in the Android 11 to deal with the OEMs and the way they treat the background apps and processes on their devices

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) usually customize parts of the Android OS like visuals and UI according to the theme of their companies. In the recent AMA session with Android engineers, it was brought up how companies can change Android’s handling of background apps. Google answered this and has revealed some changes in Android 11 that attempt to tackle this very issue.

Android Police recently published an article where it looked into how various Android OEMs such as Samsung and OnePlus handle background processes and apps on their devices. These changes can delay notifications and stop certain features altogether. This can be very frustrating for users who may miss important alerts, so developers have to keep making changes to ensure that their app is still working. When the apps don’t work as intended, it’s the developers who get under fire for it instead of the OEMs.

In the AMA session, there were a lot of questions concerned over how Google would go about this issue and whether Android 11 would be changed to improve the background app situation. Google said that they did make a few changes, but it will not fix all the major issues.

The Android team at Google called background apps a complicated topic and it’s something they are trying to tackle for quite some time. Google also critiqued OEMs adding that they don’t make the problem easy because everyone customizes Android differently instead of using the stock product.

Google has also been working with OEMs to stop their partners from using extreme ways to prevent background apps and to find why manufacturers made changes to Android OS they’ve made. Google is also cooperating with its partners to fix violations to its terms on some devices from the leading manufacturers through the latest updates.

Android 11’s Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) will now require OEMs to alert users of app restrictions at regular intervals of time. Google will now also prevent manufacturers from making an allow-list for popular apps to get through these restrictions because this is unfair and harmful to smaller developers.

Specific changes that Google is considering were mentioned by Mishaal Rahman from XDA. These changes specified that OEMs must inform users if app restrictions are applied to an app automatically. Such information must not be provided earlier than 24 hours before such restrictions are applied. This is if the restrictions are more restrictive than the “Rare” standby bucket on AOSP, as noted that Force Stop is considered to be more restrictive than “Rare” and must comply with all requirements under 3.5.1 and C-15.

A new API was also mentioned by Google that lets the developers know why their app crashed. This might help them fix the issues, but it will not affect the users until the developers themselves actually fix their app, which the API actually doesn’t help with.

There is still a lot of work for Google and Android teams to do to fix the issue, and Google should do more regarding it. However, it’s clear that this issue going to be fixed anytime soon.

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