Over the past few years, web browsers have started to change how permissions work, to curb bad behavior from websites. For example, most browsers now block auto-playing videos with audio entirely, while the request prompt for notifications might be hidden on Chrome soon. Android is apparently taking a cue from changes like these, as Android 11 now blocks apps from repeatedly asking for a given permission. Read More
If your Android phone is lost or stolen, the platform's built-in Find My Device functionality can help track down, lock, or remotely wipe it, though a change in Android 10 has led to some confusion among our readers. Find My Device has a setting in "Device admin apps," which grants it extra privileges it claims are required to remotely wipe and lock devices, and it appears to be disabled by default on many Android 10 devices, including the Pixel 4. Don't worry, though, you don't need to turn it back on. It turns out, Find My Device doesn't need it to work on Android 10. Read More
In recent years, Google has taken steps to stop third-party applications in the background from finding your location. Once an app is closed, live location data may be heavily throttled or stopped entirely. While this may seem like a win for user privacy and battery life, there are plenty of apps that don't use background location data for harmful purposes (like Cerberus or various health tools). According to XDA Developers, Android Q might introduce a new permission that brings back full background location access. Read More
Google's initiative to put privacy and security back into the hands of users through a revised permission system has received generally positive responses. It's no secret that this approach closely matches the way iOS prompts users for access to things like the contacts or location. Aside from the possibility that permission requests could become annoying with too much frequency, this has proven to be a pretty effective approach. However, since the announcement, one sticking point seems to have emerged around access to the Internet. As it turns out, users will never be asked to grant access to the outside world, and it's not even possible to revoke it, even if they wanted to. Read More
Remember App Ops? Back in Jelly Bean 4.3, the feature could be accessed by resourceful users to switch on or off permissions for individual apps. By KitKat 4.4.2, the feature was completely hidden from users. Google's explanation was that App Ops was never meant for public consumption - it was devised for internal debugging only. But users had gotten a taste of granular app permission controls and wanted more.
After some rumblings earlier this month, we've seen information suggesting that - with Android M - that wish may be fulfilled after all.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
The latest version of the Play Store hit the scene a little over a week ago and introduced a tweak to the way permissions are displayed at install time, and it left some people feeling a little...uncertain. Gone is the ugly wall of poorly spaced, semi-specific permissions. The replacement is a short set of simplified categories, each with crisp-looking icons and buttons that reveal a brief description when tapped. Google filtered through roughly 145 permissions and narrowed them down to a dozen groups, plus one bucket for anything that remains. The list can be found here.
Left: old Play Store. Read More
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
New Permissions And Features
The first thing many of our readers noticed before installing the apk manually is that it requires a stack of new permissions. Read More
One of the ways Android protects application users from unwanted activities is by requiring every app to declare a set of permissions and allowing users to view those permissions during the installation phase. Don't like what an app can do? Just don't install it.
However, this all or nothing approach doesn't allow you to selectively turn off specific permissions, so if you don't like that an application accesses your phone state, you can't just disable that and still have the app installed. This forces you to either potentially compromise your privacy or miss out on what could be a great piece of software. Read More
The latest Angry Birds update v1.5.1 that hit the Market yesterday introduced a whole bunch of levels, support for lower-end devices, and... a new SMS permission requirement. This not only prevented the update from being installed automatically, but also created quite a bit of user confusion, or even panic, around the reasons why the game would ever need to send or read our text messages.
Rovio's own Twitter account, probably manned by one of those evil pigs, insisted it was a mistake that would be fixed Monday, which calmed some of us down, but the truth ended up lying elsewhere. In fact, it turned out we knew about it all along, but most of us forgot in the 2 months that followed. Read More