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Android 11 apps won't have full storage access until 2021

Google tried to sneak scoped storage into Android 10, but developers weren't having it. This more restrictive (and secure) method of managing your internal storage is coming back in Android 11, but there will be a new "all files access" permission. Or rather, there was supposed to be. Google has updated its support page to clarify that Android 11 apps won't be able to use that permission until 2021.

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Android 11 can automatically revoke permissions from unused apps

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 has a new setting for app permissions, allowing them to be automatically revoked if you don't use the app for long enough. Disabled by default, the descriptively-named "Auto revoke permissions" setting will revoke permissions for a given app if it isn't used "for a few months."

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Google boots popular anti-spam call service YouMail off the Play Store (Update: It's back)

Every other month, a legitimate, useful app gets kicked off the Play Store while sleazy applications with bad intentions thrive. Google's removal algorithms often cite arbitrary reasons as in the recent case of Slide for Reddit. The third-party client was removed for including a screenshot of an article in its listing that contained the word "ISIS" (which had been there for years). The latest app to be hit by Google's automated patrol is YouMail, a visual voicemail service that offers spam call protection. It has been booted from the Play Store because Google supposedly couldn't find evidence it's actually blocking spam.

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Android 11 follows in iOS's footsteps, heavily restricts background location access for apps

If you're skeeved out by apps tracking your location at all times (or even asking you to allow them to do so), good news: Android 11 aims to curb that behavior. The newest OS version requires apps to jump through a number of new hoops to get constant location access, eventually including getting approval to remain listed on the Play Store.

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Android 11 will block apps from repeatedly asking for permissions

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.

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First Android 11 Developer Preview lands today for Google Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4

Android 11 is now official, and Google is releasing the first Developer Preview for this new version starting today. The software changes this time sound ambitious, with Google essentially taking most of its work on Android 10 and (literally) turning it up to 11, featuring enhancements to privacy and security, improvements to Project Mainline, a new dedicated "conversations" section for notifications, and tweaks to better harness 5G — all among a much longer list of changes just too big to include here. You can check it out for yourself by manually flashing it onto supported Pixel phones (everything but the 2016 OGs).

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SMS Backup+ is now broken due to Gmail's API changes, but there's a workaround

Over the last week or so, the popular SMS to Gmail backup application SMS Backup+ has finally stopped working as a result of Google's Gmail API changes. When messages regarding the app's impending loss of functionality were sent out a few months back, our readers were understandably upset. After all, over five million people use SMS Backup+, and not just for backups, but for moving messages between devices and the convenience of Gmail-based threaded conversation view. Thankfully, SMS Backup+ has an IMAP-based workaround which still works.

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Gmail API changes are about to break apps like SwiftKey, SMS Backup+, and Nine

Over the last year, Google has been instituting sweeping changes when it comes to app permissions to help protect user privacy. It imposed new restrictions when it came to SMS and phone permissions, and plenty of app makers found themselves caught in the Google support machine. Now developers found in violation of recent Gmail API changes are left out in the lurch, and the list of affected apps includes SMS Backup+, Nine, and even SwiftKey.

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Android Q Beta 4 allows apps that can use overlays to launch background activities

In Android Q Beta 3, background activities were made the scourge of the kingdom. No background app could start a foreground task. Sure, it was meant to stop any malicious developers from doing some unwanted snooping on their users' devices, but it also cuts off automation apps like Tasker from triggering their jobs. Google does allow for exceptions to this ban, but none of them have suited those apps until the company introduced a new exception to the list with the release of Android Q Beta 4: SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW.

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Google Play Store now has 98% fewer apps using SMS and call permissions

One of the Google's main focuses in Android recently has been cutting back on permissions, for better or worse. The Play Store has been more restrictive on applications allowed to use SMS and calling permissions, which famously crippled apps like Cerberus and Watch Droid. Google announced today at I/O that the number of apps using these permissions has dropped by 98% in recent months.

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