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A privacy-focused permissions feature from Android 11 is coming to older phones too

A privacy-focused permissions feature from Android 11 is coming to older phones too


Resetting an app’s permissions if it hasn’t been used in a while

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Android 11’s auto-resetting permissions, where the operating system will restrict an app’s permission to access sensitive phone features like its storage or cameras if it hasn’t been opened for several months, are coming to older devices, Google has announced. The feature originally launched with Android 11 last year, but soon it’ll be available on any phones running Android 6 and above with Google Play services, which Google says should cover “billions” of Android phones released since 2015.

The feature is designed to help protect your privacy by preventing older apps from having unfettered access to your phone if you haven’t used them in months. You might be happy to give a novelty camera app access to your storage while it’s all the rage, but there’s a good chance you’ll forget it’s installed soon after. Android’s security feature is designed to step in and reset these permissions once it becomes clear that an app is no longer in regular use.

Automatically enabled on Android 6.0 and up

According to Google, the feature “will automatically be enabled on devices with Google Play services that are running Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher.” However, it has to be enabled manually for apps that aren’t targeting Android 11. Apps might ask users to disable this privacy feature if they’re regularly required to work in the background without you opening them, Google says.

According to Google, the feature will begin to roll out in December on devices running Android 6 to Android 10 with Google Play Services, before reaching all such devices in the first quarter of next year.