Before Google started to take app permissions seriously, Android apps were notorious for requesting intrusive permissions even if the app doesn’t necessarily need them to function. With Android 11, Google introduced a new approach that automatically revokes unused permissions in a few months. The company is now bringing this useful feature to older Android phones.
Auto-Reset Permissions for Unused Apps on Android
In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced its plans to bring permission auto-reset feature to Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow (API level 23) and newer. It will start rolling out through a Google Play Services update starting this December. Google says the feature will reach all supported devices in the first quarter of 2022.
Permissions auto-reset feature will be enabled by default for apps targeting Android 11 (API level 30) or newer. However, users will have the option to manually control auto-reset settings from the app permissions page for apps targeting API levels 23 to 29. Look for a toggle that says ‘Remove permissions if app isn’t used’ and flip the toggle accordingly.
Developers can request the user to disable auto-reset if the app requires it. Google recommends requesting users to disable auto-reset if the app is meant for running in the background. Some use-cases include apps that provide family safety, sync data, communicate with smart devices, or pair to companion devices. Notable exceptions to auto-reset permissions include active Device Administrator apps of enterprises and permissions fixed by enterprise policy.
While you wait for auto-reset permissions to hit your device, consider taking a look at our guide to manually change app permissions on Android. We also have a separate guide featuring an app that brings Android 11’s temporary permissions feature to any Android phone.