If you watched the Google I/O 2021 Keynote, you might have noticed quite a bit of focus placed on privacy when it comes to Android 12. Privacy is a major debate right now in the tech world, so it’s important to see Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS make strides to keep your information private. However, this trend was already underway when Android 11 was released.
One of the best privacy features from Android 11 is the ability for your phone to automatically remove permissions from apps that have not been actively used. This includes removing the ability for an app to retain access to the camera, microphone, and even your location.
Today, Google announced plans to bring this auto-reset feature to older Android phones and tablets via Play Services in the coming months. But we aren’t just talking about bringing it to just devices running Android 12. Google confirmed it will bring the feature to devices running at least Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is just over 6 years old at this point.
As you might expect, Google is enabling this by default for apps that target Android 11 (API level 30) and later. Unfortunately, this won’t be the case for any apps that are targeting API levels 23-29, in an effort to cut down on any potential problems or issues. There are other applications that are exempt from this feature, including some apps used by enterprises. Additionally, if developers request permissions “at runtime”, then those apps won’t need to be updated in order to provide this feature for users.
So when can we expect the roll out to begin? Google states that it’s still a couple of months away, as it won’t begin until sometime in December. But the goal is to become fully available by the end of Q1 2022. Once it’s arrived on your device, a new settings panel will appear providing you with the ability to manually enable or disable this feature for specific apps. From there, the Android OS will take over and will begin handling permissions from unused apps.