Google Prepares to Reset App Permissions on Billions of Devices

Google has announced that it will trigger an auto-reset for app permissions for billions of Android devices, starting with Android 6.0 (API level 23) and higher.

The feature is already available for apps targeting the latest OS version, Android 11, and some users might have already noticed that their OS automatically disables permissions for unused apps. Since people tend to have dozens of apps installed at all times, knowing which app has which permissions enabled is tedious.

But the Android market is highly diverse, and Android 11 doesn’t have a majority share. In fact, older Android versions still have hefty chunks of the market, so Google chose to extend this feature to older iterations of the OS.

“In Android 11, we introduced the permission auto-reset feature,” said Google. “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.”

“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 (API level 23) or higher.”

This means that users running older Android versions will likely see notifications stating that permissions for some older apps have been reset. It’s a good way to ensure that older apps don’t misbehave.

Google is also preparing to launch Android 12, which will feature a new option named app hibernation. The OS will clear up temporary files belonging to unused apps to make room. Unlike the reset permissions features, app hibernation will only be available on Android 12.