Google brings a new privacy feature to older phones

Google announced that it is bringing the Android 11 auto-cancellation permission feature to all devices running Android 6 and above. The company had introduced Android 11 auto-cancellation permissions that prevented unused apps from accessing sensitive permissions granted by the user. While this privacy feature currently remains exclusive to Android 11 and later devices. But it's coming soon to older versions of Android - right down to Android 6. The feature will start rolling out to devices with Google Play services installed later this year.


The company says the feature is enabled by default for apps targeting Android 11 (API level 30) or higher. For apps targeting API levels 23 to 29, users have to enable it manually in Settings. The permission reset feature automatically revokes sensitive permissions granted to apps that the user hasn't accessed for a few months.


For example, if you allow an app to access your location and for some reason, you haven't opened that app for a long time, the feature automatically revokes the location permission for that app, and the app has to ask for location permission again when you open it.


The automatic permission reset feature will not be applied to Device Administrator apps, and similarly, permissions set by enterprise policy will not be revoked. Google brings automatic permission revocation feature to billions of older phones

This feature is also compatible with the hibernation of the app in Android 12. If necessary, the app developer can also ask the user to disable the auto-reset permission feature.


If your app targets API level 30 or higher and you want to require the user to disable automatic permission reset, you need to use the new cross-platform API that is part of the Jetpack Core library.


Doing this is useful for apps that primarily run in the background, such as an app that accompanies your smartwatch. The automatic permission revocation feature that is making its way to older Android phones may seem insignificant. But given that software support for many of these older phones has long since been discontinued, they are therefore more vulnerable to being exploited by malicious apps.


And the auto-reset feature is gradually rolling out to Android 6 via Google Play Services from December 2021. The company says the feature will reach all eligible devices by the first quarter of 2022. The auto-reset APIs are released across platforms today in beta with Jetpack Core 1.7.0. But it is launching as a stable API in October 2021.

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