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Android O feature spotlight: SMS authentication process gets streamlined
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With each new version of Android, we all look out for the big, front-facing changes that alter the way the OS looks or works in a big way. But for every major new feature, there are countless smaller ones behind the scenes that altogether add up to a better experience. One such change that seems to be heading our way with the upcoming release of Android O is an improved SMS authentication process for use by third party apps.
The new API, which was spotted by Mishaal over at XDA, is intended to create a seamless authentication process that no longer plays out before a user's eyes. It will allow apps to notify the system of an incoming SMS message containing an 11-digit authentication code which will then create a request specific to that app. Once the SMS is received, the system will send the code directly to the app without the user ever seeing it. That message will no longer arrive in the chosen SMS inbox and apps will no longer require permission to read every incoming text message.
The process kicks in when an app creates a PendingIntent with the type createAppSpecificSmsToken, alerting the system of an incoming message. The first message that comes through including an authentication code will be used and each app can only have one request out at a time. Once the request is fulfilled any subsequent code-containing message will arrive in the SMS inbox as usual, but as long as apps implement this correctly that shouldn't happen anymore. Or at least nowhere near as often as before.
As well as removing all those annoying codes from your SMS inbox this should also be more secure as it removes the need for an app to have access to your entire message history. That's something I was always a little reluctant to permit anyway. This is also good news for developers as it means there's one less permission an app needs to ask you for when you set it up. Any streamlining of that process has to be good news for all involved.
With Google's I/O developer conference just 2 days away, we're expecting to learn about many more tasty little morsels like this arriving with Android O.
- XDA Developers