A new announcement from Google regarding an Android 11 feature reveals that the company plans to auto-reset permissions granted to apps that haven’t been used in some time.
The feature will apply to devices running Android versions 6 and higher, and will go live in December this year. This means that it will be enabled on Android devices with Google Play services from Android 6.0 and API level 23 and above.
Why is Google planning to release the auto-reset permissions feature?
“In order to work, apps often need to request certain permissions, but with dozens of apps on any given device, it can be tough to keep up with the permissions you’ve previously granted – especially if you haven’t used an app for an extended period of time,” the company explained.
The main focus of the feature is help protect user privacy by automatically resetting an app’s runtime permissions. These display a prompt to the user when requested. The feature will do its trick in case an app hasn’t been user for a few months.
“Starting in December 2021, we are expanding this to billions more devices. This feature will automatically be enabled on devices with Google Play services that are running Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher,” Google added.
It should be noted that developers will have the right to ask the user to prevent the system from resetting their app’s permissions. The exception applies to situations when users expect the app to work primarily in the background, without any interactions.
Android Apps Can Collect User Data Even If You Have Denied Permissions
A 2019 study revealed that a large part part of apps installed on devices running Android can harvest sensitive data without notifying or asking explicitly the users. There are a lot of ways that Android apps can use to bypass Android’s permissions system and harvest data without explicit rights to do so, including techniques known as covert channel and side channel.