11
Dec
android-kitkat-google-surprise-chocolate-key-lime-pie-370x229

Just hours ago the source code for Android 4.4.2 went live on AOSP, and now we already have our changelog from Al Sutton. With only four meaningful changes, this is probably the smallest changelog we've ever seen. That's not to say it isn't significant, as it further hides away App Ops and also shores up two fairly serious vulnerabilities.

2013-12-11_13-44-29

The security fixes aren't much of a surprise. There is a patch to block the Class-0 "Flash" SMS attack we covered a couple of weeks ago. Instead of stacking each message onto the screen, the new behavior will display the first Class-0 message and queue up subsequent messages until they can be dismissed by the user. There is also a fix for a potential Denial-of-Service issue caused when receiving 0-byte WAP messages.

Unfortunately, it looks like App Ops is being made even more difficult to reach after this patch to the Settings app. This turn of events isn't completely unexpected after a recent statement by Dianne Hackborn, one of Android's best known framework engineers. It looks like Google is serious about keeping App Ops out of the hands of users.

Aside from these changes, there is also a small tweak to the camera app to generate less logs, but that's it. Again, it's a pretty tiny update. If you'd like to take a closer look, hit the source link below.

Source: Funky Android

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Jeff718

    I've been sitting on the update in my notification bar for a couple of days. If I take the update, I understand I won't be able to access App Ops. But will my existing App Ops settings stick? Will the rejected permissions of a few apps stick?

    • Jonathan Berry

      Yes, they will stay. You just won't be able to get back into App Ops to change them.

    • Captain Spaulding

      I can't answer your question, but you can install this app, which in turn, will allow you to install another app, called App Ops X, which will do the same thing, but only if you're rooted. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.colortiger.appopsinstaller

      • Jeff718

        I have this app, and I use App Ops X. I'm just not sure (because I haven't seen it confirmed anywhere) that this solution will continue to work if I accept the update to 4.4.2. And yes, I'm rooted.

        • Captain Spaulding

          App Ops X still works.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            I can confirm that. I also updated to 4.4.2 after confirming this exact same thing.

  • dan

    I hope 4.4.3 would unify (gallery) and (photos) apps completely and bring a new Camera UI. I also hop to see Google transition more of its core apps to the play store to help update them faster and easier and bring them to the whole android user base. Bty, why is Google still keeping the (News and Weather) app in 4.4?

    • Frederico Silva

      I don't think the new Camera UI will come in a 4.4.x update. I think it will be in a 4.x update, for example '4.5', but still under the KitKat name (like 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jelly Bean)

    • Simon Belmont

      Hopefully Android 4.4.3 fixes the LTE signal issues on the Nexus 5 that I've been hearing about, too. People are getting noticeably lower reception with LTE with the updated radio baseband found in Android 4.4.1/4.4.2.

      I've actually been afraid to apply the update for that because I have good LTE signal where I am and I love having it. I guess I'll take the plunge sooner or later.

    • GazaIan

      On the new GPE devices, the old Gallery has been removed completely, leaving you with just the Photos app.

      • Dennis Ulijn

        which leaves me to believe that a Photos update can't be far away, because there's a lot of useful options in the Gallery app, that aren't in the Photos app.
        Also, if you swipe from within the camera to your photos, it normally goes to Gallery (icon top left is gallery icon). Do the GPE phones go to photos?

        • bhaismachine

          And the swipe to delete options. It comes in handy when quickly deleting few photos.

          • Dennis Ulijn

            Would be a welcome edition, but i find deleting multiple files easier by selecting multiple by long taps and then deleting them all in one go.

  • Ray

    The hiding/disabling of App Ops is extremely poor IMO.

    • kcslimmers

      Totally agree... If this is for testing purposes, throw it under the developer options settings.

      • Dennis Ulijn

        I know I'm not making myself popular by saying this, but I think it's good for developers to know what they can expect. If they explicitly ask for location data, they should get location data. If users don't want to share location data, they shouldn't install the app. No installs means the developer needs to improve their apps, and possibly take out location data, if that means that the app gets downloaded. I think this is more like a promise from Google to the developers, that it tries to keep apps away that block ads or blocks parts of their apps, like location data (ad income and location data might be the currency the developers wants to get paid in, instead of a price on the Play Store, no income is no apps). If that is Google's reasoning, I get it.

        • booboo

          Good point, except App Ops is useful right now to users. Your solution involves letting the free market sort itself out in its own time.

          The developers people want to block permissions for are usually because they are overstepping their bounds collecting personal data, or wasting battery, but maybe otherwise the app is perfect.... You would that user just sit around until an acceptable version came out, instead of just letting us fix it ourselves.

          • Dennis Ulijn

            My main culprit is the McDonalds app. I get free coupons when I install it, but it keeps a my constant location to 'give me up to date coupons'... I can solve this in multiple ways: I can uninstall the app, because the pros don't outweigh the cons.
            Another option is to keep developers away from their needed income (in form of Play Store payments, in app purchases, ads or location/contact information).
            Should a significant part of the users do this, app developers will automatically flock to a system where there are no lite or free versions of apps, because their income through ads or info gathering is diminished. Same goes for a system like Apple's: if all users can easily set permissions, lots of aps will lose their free versions, like on iOS.
            So, before i get a public burning like a witch in the middle ages: I rather had the option to choose, but i understand Google needs to defend developers, because the only reason Android can keep this market share is by having this market share in developers. And the only way to grow in users is by having a better app selection, whether that's MORE apps or MORE FREE apps.

        • pobautista

          First, if Google doesn't want to let me block apps from accessing my location, then what the hell is the GPS quick toggle for?

          Second, developers should not expect! Instead THEY SHOULD CODE DEFENSIVELY and put error handling. If they ask for location data, for the contact list, for the call log, surely they have to write error handling when the requested info is not available.

          "Free market" is not involved here, just shoddy programming.

        • Yizhaq Agronov

          Good point... But, If I'll want closed system I'll buy iPad

  • BigDropz

    For videos we need a Record Start, Record Stop & Record End button. So we we can film different takes within the same video.

  • Alvin Brinson

    This is where Google's profit center conflicts with user rights.

    If apps weren't so greedy with permissions, things like this wouldn't be necessary. But when I install an app that has nothing to do with my contacts, yet it wants access to "view and modify" my contact list, there's only one reason: To spam my friends. I block access. If the app breaks if I do that, then f**kedaboutit, I'm uninstalling.

    However, as far as Google's concerned, allowing your personal data to be shared is exactly at the heart of how they make money. Developers wouldn't be putting out so many "free" apps if they didn't get to harvest your data. Google would make less ad money. So while they make a pretense of keeping your data secret by having apps disclose what data they can access, in reality they don't want you to be able to do anything about it.

    • SimonPieman

      You talk out your ass..

      • Luis

        So it seems his ass is doing a pretty good job.

        • sveabrun

          A very good job indeed. I'm not gay but that's one fine looking sweet talking ass u got there buddy ;)

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Yes... exactly what I've been thinking ever since I heard of it. You put it words aptly.

  • https://therealpadster.deviantart.com/ Padster

    If they don't want regular users to access App Ops, they should put it under the developer menu.

  • Snoballz

    It also fixed the Bluetooth headphone volume bug.

  • callering

    I think the android team should just put everything and by that i mean EVERYTHING on hold and only focus on the N5 microphone bug. I would rather be able to make a phone call and get all my emails and everything else hacked and stolen rather than using my N5 as a fancy mini tablet witch it's all that the device is atm.
    Their flagship doesn't even float so why should your boat?

    • David Hart

      Have you tried wiping your device?

      I'm glad you're not the CEO

    • hp420

      I get what you mean, but why screw the entire community because of one bug on one device which represents far less than 1% of android users worldwide. Even though it's only available for Nexus users at the moment, you have to remember that by Google pushing the code to the repo, they are making it available to all manufacturers' coders so they can get working builds out to users of other devices in a good timely fashion. If Google held up a release just to fix your bug, it would literally hold up every user in the world scheduled to get an update, and that means some devices would be scrubbed altogether just because you feel like you're important enough. I'll tell you one thing: if my device hit EOL while waiting for your bug to get patched, and subsequently missed the update forever, I'd kick you square in the balls about 15,000 times.

    • Matthew Gardner

      Call quality on my Nexus 5 is crystal clear. I'm calling hardware defect.

    • rt

      Yes, because all Android users own an N5.

  • adi

    Looks like the first hints of GEL is here in my nexus 4 after the 4.4.2 update. The translucent bars I mean.

  • Freebird

    As much as I would like to play with the new NEW features of 4.4, Apps Op is more important for me so I will stick with android 4.3. Normally I would upgrade for the sake of it but there is no real need now. The phone is still under warranty so on the slim chance the sms bug made it unusable, I could get it fixed.

    How many users will choose not to upgrade further will be interesting.

    Another option is to upgrade then root the phone or flash another room to get the fine apps control back again. Having the aps op features are important enough to many consumers for them to find ways of keeping that functionality.

  • Michael Capio

    after i got the first update of kit kat my nexus 7 1st gen lost my camera...this update sucks!!!!i already restore factory settings but still my camera doesnt work!