Android apps that haven’t been used for a while will soon start to automatically lose permission to access sensitive device features like sensors, text messages, and contact lists.
In December, Google plans to increase the availability of “automatic reboot permissions,” a privacy protection feature in Android that automatically revokes permissions previously granted to an app to access a device’s location, camera, or even microphone. . Permissions can be re-granted to an application when it is started again.
Google released this feature for Android 11 last year, but will roll it out to “billions more devices” in December via Google Play services on Android 6.0 (API level 23) devices starting in 2015.
Automatic reset of confidential permissions
“The feature will be enabled by default for applications targeting Android 11 (API level 30) or higher. However, users can manually enable automatic permission reset for apps targeting API levels 23-29, ”Google says in an Android developer blog post.
This feature is intended to help Android users control privacy-sensitive app permissions in the context where users have dozens of apps on a device, many of which are not used very frequently or during Long periods of time. It targets the “execute permissions” or “dangerous permissions” of an application to access the user’s location, contact information, messages, and other private data.
Around the second quarter of 2022, if an application is for Android 6 or later and is not used for several months, Android will automatically reset the confidential execute permissions that the user has granted to the application.
“This action has the same effect as if the user consulted an authorization in the system configuration and changed the access level of his application denying it,” explains Google in its notes to developers.
Exceptions for Enterprise Managed Applications
This change will affect all Android applications on consumer devices. However, Google has made an exception for applications managed by companies and applications whose permissions have been set by company policy.
Google also offers a way for developers to ask a user to turn off their app’s automatic tuning. This might be suitable for applications that are supposed to run in the background, such as applications that keep the family safe, applications to sync data, applications to control connected devices, or to pair with other devices.
The rollout of the auto-restart feature will roll out gradually after starting in December, but not all Android 6 and Android 10 devices will be affected until Q1 2022, Google says.
However, Android 6-10 users can go to a automatic reset settings page and turn automatic reset on or off for specific apps. “The system will automatically begin to reset permissions for unused apps a few weeks after the feature is released on a device,” Google notes.