Android could finally be getting back à la carte app permissions

As it stand right now, app permission control in Android is frustratingly monolithic. When installing some new software, users are presented with a breakdown of permissions the app’s requesting, and all they can do is agree to allow all of them, or none at all. Back when Android 4.3 first landed, we were teased with the promise of far more granular control over permissions, able to selectively enable and disable access as we pleased (above). Unfortunately, that hidden tool didn’t last for long, and Google was quick to force users back into its all-or-nothing routine. Now there’s once again hope that things could be changing for the better, as a rumor emerges that Google’s got a new à la carte permission system it intends to debut at Google I/O.

From the way it’s described, this sounds very much like the App Ops of Android past: things like access to device photos, contacts, and location data are mentioned specifically as permissions that could be selectively applied. It’s not yet clear if every single last permission will allow for such toggling, but the outlook sure sounds optimistic.

Such a feature would raise plenty of technical questions – like how should an app behave if it can’t access the Android features it expects to – but we’re hoping that’s exactly what Google’s been thinking about since App Ops went away, and that it may have a workable (and maybe even graceful) solution ready to present. We’ll be paying close attention as I/O gets underway later this month to see what it has to announce.

Source: Bloomberg

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!