TerraTime Permissions

TerraTime requests the following permissions from the Android system. Tap on any of the permissions – or just scroll down – for a detailed explanation of exactly what TerraTime is doing with each.

YOUR LOCATION: COARSE (NETWORK-BASED) and FINE (GPS)
sunrise and sunset times depend on where you are
FULL INTERNET ACCESS
to download the satellite imagery used to make the map and globe
VIEW NETWORK STATE
to ensure that you have a high-speed data connection before downloads take place
MODIFY/DELETE USB STORAGE or SD CARD CONTENTS
to store various images for faster operation
START AT BOOT, SET WALLPAPER
both essential to making the live wallpaper work

COARSE (NETWORK-BASED) LOCATION

Virtually every feature on TerraTime's Clock page requires the app to know roughly where on Earth you are. Rise and set of sun and moon, dawn, dusk, transits: they all vary by location. So, TerraTime requests your approximate (or coarse) location from the Android system, which can usually supply it quickly – and with little battery use – from your network provider.

FINE (GPS) LOCATION

Ordinarily, TerraTime is perfectly happy to use your approximate (network-based) location; the low accuracy is more than sufficient for the app’s purposes. See the previous permission for more details on this.

However, a problem arises when you don’t have network coverage, or when you’re roaming on a network which doesn’t provide location services. The app still needs your location, and GPS is the only other (automated) alternative. For people who use the app in remote areas – say, when camping, or traveling overseas – this is the only way the app can get their location.

So, the app requires the GPS permission. But it doesn’t actually need your precise location – and you are free to turn off the GPS interface, either within the app (see the Local Clock settings), or system-wide on your device. You’ll just be limited to network-based location services.

Finally, rest assured that the app won’t power on your GPS if you’ve turned it off at the device level. No app can do that unless you’ve rooted your device – and even then, TerraTime won’t.

FULL INTERNET ACCESS

TerraTime has two functions which require internet access.

First is the satellite imagery which makes up the Map and Globe. Most of these layers are updated in near-real-time, which means that they can't be included in the app install. They need to be downloaded from our internet server after installation.

Second is place name and time zone search; by querying internet search services, the app can look up the time zone and location for virtually any city, town, or other generally-known placename. This allows you to display TerraTime's clock for just about anyplace on Earth.

Does this mean that TerraTime requires an internet connection to function? Not generally, no. Once one set of both map and globe imagery has been downloaded, the app will use locally cached copies until you return to Internet coverage. And you also won't be able to look up cities or time zones when offline, of course.

VIEW NETWORK STATE

Downloading imagery over the internet (see the previous permission) is fine, but not all mobile connections are exactly fast. And since TerraTime's satellite images can be fairly large, the app avoids downloading them when your network connection is slow (usually only 2G mobile data coverage); it'll wait until you have something faster (3G, 4G, or WiFi). This permission is required to get that network information from the system.

MODIFY/DELETE USB STORAGE or SD CARD CONTENTS

The exact wording of this permission varies by device, but it means the same thing: the app has the ability to read and write your device’s user data storage, be that an SD card, USB drive, or internal storage.

TerraTime uses this ability to increase the speed (and decrease the battery usage) of its operations. It’s a graphically-intensive app – from the map and globe to the day/night background of the clock – and creating these graphics can be a load on the system. So, the app goes to great lengths to not create graphics more than it has to; instead, it saves copies of these graphics for future use. This is best done on your device’s user storage, so TerraTime needs permission to do so. This also enables TerraTime to operate offline under most circumstances.

The app does its best to manage this storage use, and not use too much. If you want to delete these files manually, you can do so from your device’s system settings, under Applications > Manage Applications > TerraTime > Clear Data. These files will also be deleted automatically by the system if you ever uninstall TerraTime.

START AT BOOT, SET WALLPAPER

The app’s live wallpapers are among its most popular features, and TerraTime is unusual in that it supported live wallpapers before the Android system did. This means that users of older devices (before Android 2.1) can enjoy live wallpapers too – but in order to make it work, these permissions are required. The app needs to start at boot to get the wallpaper process underway, and then set wallpaper to actually make it happen.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to only request permissions on the specific devices which need them; the request is all or nothing. However, these older devices are continually being replaced by newer models, and will eventually be gone altogether. When the time comes that we no longer support Android versions that require these permissions, we'll remove them from the app.

The other good news is that, on newer devices that support true live wallpapers, TerraTime essentially does nothing when the system starts it during boot, and so adds minimal time to your device’s boot-up lag. You may also be concerned to see a system monitor showing TerraTime as "still running" after the boot has completed; this is normal, and simply means that the system is keeping TerraTime around in case you run it manually. If your system needs the resources it’s holding, this "dormant" TerraTime will be automatically removed. It’s just how Android works.