Thursday, December 10, 2015

Controlling Android App Permissions - Android 6.0

Have you ever tried to download an app from Google Play only to find out the app wants access to practically everything on your device? Like a simple wallpaper app that requests access to your contacts or a crossword puzzle game that requests access to your location, photos, and calendar. The permissions you allow an app to have on your device is often overlooked or ignored and can result in data theft, viruses, and can certainly allow hackers to own your device. It is extremely important to watch and restrict the permissions these apps are requesting. Even if they seem credible from big names like Facebook or Google, they need to be regulated and its up to YOU to do that.

Until recently, you had two options when downloading apps from Google Play:

  1. Accept whatever permissions the app is requesting and install the app.
  2. Don't download the app at all.
This is extremely frustrating for those of us who care about our privacy and security. Google seems to have recognized this and now allows YOU to control the permissions the app has on your device. This feature came with Google's latest release of their Android operating system, version 6.0 (a.k.a., Marshmallow). If you are lucky enough to have received this update already, then you have the power to control the permissions apps have. And I'm gong to show you how.

1. Go into the "Settings" menuscroll down and press "Apps".

2. Find and press the app you want to change the permissions for. 

3. Press "Permissions" to access the list of permissions the app has on your device. Flip the switch to turn off a permission you don't want the app to have. 

NOTE: Your device will warn you that "the app may not function correctly" if you turn off a permission. The keyword here is "may". The app will work fine but certain functionality of the app may be limited. Do what you need to do. 

Now you are done! Do this for all the apps already installed on your device and any future apps you install. This will greatly improve the overall security of your device and will certainly keep you safer than you were. Cheers!