Android Q news is starting to arrive bit by bit, largely due to an early AOSP build that's been doing the rounds. Probably the most welcome enhancement — other than the much-anticipated system-wide dark mode — is an overhaul to the privacy and permissions settings.
Thanks to our friends at XDA Developers, we now know a little bit more about what to expect. Read More
XDA has managed to get its hands on an early build of Android Q, confirming that Google's next version of our favorite operating system will include a dark mode, as expected. But plenty of more secrets were hiding inside the image XDA found, including a much-needed app permissions revamp, what may end up being a Samsung DeX-like desktop UI, and piles of smaller features. Read More
Late last year, Google decided it was time to crack down on apps requesting SMS and call log permissions. Ostensibly, exceptions would be granted for categories including backups and automation, but as of now, there are still gaps which cover legitimate use cases. While some popular apps like Tasker have successfully secured exemptions, others like Cerberus have not. Instead, they've decided to strip out those permissions or risk facing the wrath of Google's upcoming January 9th banhammer, killing associated functionality and disappointing millions of long-time users to adhere to the Play Store's new policy. Read More
Google has started taking Android security much more seriously in recent years, removing dangerous permissions and implementing new privacy tools. Seeing Google clobber bad apps is an unabashedly good thing, but sometimes an app we love gets caught in the crossfire. Case in point: Tasker is about to lose major pieces of its functionality because of Google's crackdown on app permissions. Read More
Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes. Read More
Our phones being able to respond to voice commands is great: you can ask for a unit conversion in the kitchen without getting flour on your screen, or change your driving destination without taking your eyes off the road. What's less great is that to facilitate that convenience, phones have to be listening at all times, and stopping them from doing so is frustratingly convoluted. There are settings in multiple places that all seem like they should do the same thing, but don't. This guide will explain the menus you'll need to navigate to change these settings, the differences between all the similar-sounding options, and the drawbacks of each Ok Google-disabling method. Read More
Google announced several changes coming in Android P on its Developers Blog today. Among them is an important change to the way phone permissions work that aims to stop apps from having unnecessary access to your phone activity. Read More
Starting on April 10th Google plans on pushing out an update to the sign-in page for Google accounts. This change is meant to further unify the sign-in process across your various devices.
Although the news was posted to the G Suite Developers blog, we do fully expect this change to affect all Google accounts on all browsers, mobile browsers, and iOS apps (Android apps should not be affected). Google's SSO will also see additional changes beyond the purely cosmetic, as a new permissions grant redirect will be added to the login process, and permissions requested by a site or service will be more explicitly stated. Read More
Google began rolling out v8.3 of the Play services framework a few weeks ago, and it looks like it's in a wide release. While this version didn't present with any direct user-facing features and only a few cryptic hints for a teardown, it did bring some definite improvements to the Play services SDK. There are some changes to streamline the sign-in experience for app developers and users alike, along with some additional enhancements that should make it easier for developers to set up new user accounts. New APIs have also been added to make data delivery more efficient between a phone and an Android Wear watch. Read More