Google to revoke the permissions of billions of inactive Android apps

Google announced on Friday that a feature present in Android 11 would be made available to Android devices running versions 6 and higher. The feature clears permissions that had been granted to apps that had not been used in months.

 

The extension is set to go live later this year, in December 2021, and the tech giant claims that it will enable billions more devices by allowing users with Google Play Services running Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher to access it. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system was released by Google in October 2015.

 

With Android 11, which was released last year, a permission auto-reset option was introduced. This option simply helps increase user privacy by automatically resetting the permissions of an app that accesses sensitive components like storage or camera after a few months of inactivity.

 

Some business applications and permissions defined by corporate policy have been included as exceptions to Google’s revocation rule, according to the company. Permission auto-reset will be enabled by default for apps operating on Android 11 (API level 30) or higher, but it will need to be explicitly enabled for apps running on API levels 23 to 29. The implementation is planned to be finished in the first quarter of 2022.

 

In recent months, Google has implemented a number of user-facing privacy and security measures, and these improvements are part of that. Google announced at the beginning of this year that they will be adding a privacy label for applications on the Play Store that plainly explains the info which is being acquired and how it is being used, as well as preventing apps from accessing the list of installed apps on Android devices. Another step toward user security taken by the tech giant in June this year was to make it easier for Android users to opt out of advertising customization in their Android Settings by stripping their advertising IDs as part of a Google Play Services update.

 

Google announced at the end of July that it intends to prevent Android users from logging in to their Google accounts on versions 2.3.7 or lower of the operating system beginning September 27, 2021.

 

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