Google is Bringing Permissions Auto-Reset to Billions of Android Apps

Posted on September 17, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 4 Comments

In Android 11, Google introduced a feature called permission auto-reset that automatically reset permissions in infrequently-used apps. Now, it is bringing this functionality to literally billions of more apps by making it available in Android 6 and above.

“This feature helps protect user privacy by automatically resetting an app’s runtime permissions, which are permissions that display a prompt to the user when requested, if the app isn’t used for a few months,” Google’s Peter Visontay and Bessie Jiang explain. “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 or higher.”

This feature will be auto-enabled in Android 11 and newer. But users will be able to manually enable it on older Android versions too, Google says. And it’s only somewhat related to, and compatible with, a coming Android 12 feature called app hibernation that applies restrictions to unused apps

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Google is Bringing Permissions Auto-Reset to Billions of Android Apps”

  1. stevek

    So...this app hasn't been used in a let's turn some stuff back on so we can spy on them again?

    • red.radar

      I am going to assume it’s resetting it to an uninitialized state requiring the user to interact and set the permissions before the app can proceed.

      or said cleaner, it’s revoking privacy credentials the app has requiring the user to re-up them.

    • IanYates82

      Apps start with no permissions and ask for them as required. This resets permissions granted to apps that haven't been used in a while. That reset is back to "no permissions" again. You're told which apps are being reset and can toggle the reset on or off before committing.

      My phone prompted me for it the other evening. The suggestions were sensible as they were apps I hadn't used recently and some I could actually uninstall.

      I get the cynicism but Android has been very good with the user & privacy controls later.