Google Play Store will restrict permission to view installed apps on the device soon

After several generations of version changes, the Android system continues to tighten application permissions. Nowadays, users can grant or deny permissions based on specific circumstances, and developers are required to more candidly explain the permissions they need and why they need them.

But even so, these refined permissions will be abused in some situations, and Google will disable unrelated applications from next month to gain access to view which applications are installed on the phone.

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Many people may not care too much about permissions when installing applications, and some applications may not be as kind as you think. Google Play treats this information as personal sensitive information because it can reflect a person’s preferences. And, as always, this information can be used for advertising and even espionage purposes.

Therefore, Google will restrict the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission to some apps starting next month, and will only be limited to a subset of apps that search for all apps installed on the device as their core purpose. Google defines “core function” as the main purpose of the application. If there is no core function, the application will become very useless. These applications include device search applications, file managers, and web browsers.

Google did say that if the application can prove that it needs the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission, it may grant a temporary exception. It uses financial or banking applications as an example, because these applications may need to know all the applications installed on the device in order to achieve security purposes, such as checking whether there are known malicious applications. Of course, applications that use these data for advertising are taboos.

It was originally intended to take effect earlier this year, but Google has postponed the implementation of the new policy to May 5, 2021. However, this change only affects apps that specifically target Android 11 or higher (API 30 or higher).

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