Google prevents apps from knowing other installed apps

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Google is soon moving to be more selective about apps across the Google Play Store that can see all the other apps you have installed.

The installed apps list can convey to developers personal traits, such as political affiliations, so starting May 5th, 2021, developers must provide a very good reason for Google to allow you to access information like this.

Android 11 apps that currently request the “QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES” permission can see the full list of apps that you have stored on your device.

But Google recently updated its developer program policy, and now considers this information “personal and sensitive user data,” which limits the apps it is allowed to use.

Once the change takes effect in May, apps can only use the permission if the primary function or purpose facing the user requires a broad view of the apps installed across the user’s device.

Examples of applications that are allowed to continue to use this permission include file managers, browsers, and anti-virus applications that need the data for awareness or interoperability purposes.

Banking applications, digital wallet applications and any other application that includes financial transaction functions obtain a permit for security-related purposes.

The QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission will only be allowed when the basic functionality of the application is based on querying installed applications.

Developers need to justify why the least intrusive way of seeing an app could not adequately enable basic user-facing functionality that is consistent with the app’s policy.

Apps that do not have a justified permission use case run the risk of being removed from the Google Play Store, and all developers who want to keep the permission in their apps need to complete an acknowledgment form justifying their use of it.

And if you are concerned that developers continue to abuse permission, Google’s documentation clearly states that it deals firmly with infringing apps.Whether it’s new within the store or just updates to existing apps.

Google could suspend apps and possibly terminate developer accounts.

Source: technical portal







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