Manage app permissions on your Android phone or tablet

Your phone, your rules: Android gives you a pretty comprehensive toolkit when it comes to managing app permissions on your device, allowing you to control access to parts of the system like the camera, microphone, and your current location .

Apps will request these permissions one by one as they need them. So you’ll typically see a flood of requests while an app is setting itself up, and more sporadic requests later (when an app needs access to your photos and videos). , For example).

You can change these permissions at any time, and it’s worth running regular audits to make sure apps aren’t overreaching. Do your apps really need all the permissions they ask for? In many cases probably not.

You can see the permissions an app asks for before installing it:

  • Open the app on the Play Shop on your phone or tablet.
  • Scroll down to Data security and tap the arrow next to it.
  • Scroll down to Collected data. This lists the personal data the app collects (such as your email address) and the permissions it asks for (such as access to your contacts).
  • Tap any data type. As it says Optional next to it the app can be run without this permission. If not, the permission is needed for the app to actually function: for example, your location in the case of a maps app. You should also see an explanation of why the app wants this permission.

It is not always easy to weigh which rights you should grant. For example, the Uber app asks for access to your contacts. This isn’t key to the app’s core functionality, but it does allow you to share the rates with other people. Many apps also request permission to show notifications, which means you have to choose between adding more distractions to your device and risking missing something important.

If you need more information about why an app needs certain permissions, you may be able to find it on the app support website. Ideally, apps should also make it clear why certain permissions are required, although unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. If an app doesn’t properly explain why it needs a certain permission, that’s another reason to deny the request.

You can manage permissions for your installed apps at any time from the main Settings screen in Android.

  • Crane Appsand then choose an app. (If you don’t see the full list, click See everything.)
  • Select Rights to see all the permissions the app needs. You will see separate lists of the apps that are currently allowed and the apps that are not.
  • Tap a permission to enable or disable it.

The screens you see vary depending on the permission. For example, for notifications, some apps give you more granular control, so you can have certain types of alerts appear but not others.

Many permissions can be set that are allowed, but only when the app is open. This prevents apps from accessing parts of the system, such as the camera or microphone, when they are not running. For many of these permissions you will also see a Ask every time option, which means you’ll be asked every time the app needs that permission.

A small number of permissions are listed Allow it all the time as one of the options. Use this sparingly. Location access for Google Maps is an example, which turns on the timeline feature that shows you where you’ve been every day (even if you never specifically opened Google Maps).

You can also view a list of app permissions by choosing Security and privacy via Settings, then Privacy > Consent manager. Here you will get the list of permissions along with the number of apps that have that permission. This is useful if you want to keep an eye on a specific authorization.

  • Tap a permission to see which apps have and have not been granted access to it.
  • Select an app to change the permission setting.
  • You get exactly the same options as before, including Ask every time And Allow it all the time.

Whatever method you use to access your app permissions, you can also see when each app last used that permission. If so, it will be written in smaller text below the permissions. This is another useful indicator when it comes to deciding which permissions to grant and which not to, as it can highlight instances where permissions are being used when they are not necessary.

If you have apps that you haven’t used in a while – and who among us doesn’t? — Android will occasionally notify you that those apps’ permissions have been removed (in addition, temporary files may have been deleted and notifications have stopped). If you do open that app, you’ll be asked again to enable those permissions.

  • When you go to Security and privacy in Settings, you may be invited via an additional button to view the apps for which permissions have been revoked.
  • Crane Rate appsand you’ll get a list of all apps last opened more than six months ago.
  • From here you can easily delete them by tapping the trash can icon.
  • You can also tap the app itself to go to the app’s info page.

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