The way Android handles your privacy isn’t perfect, and various studies have shown that apps can and will take advantage of the way you set up app permissions to mine personal data for commercial purposes. However, a new leak indicates that Android M will offer users better privacy by introducing new features that’ll give them granular app permission control.
The feature will likely be similar to App Ops, Android Police reports, a feature that was accessible to Jelly Bean power users that allowed them to enable or disable individual app permissions. However, the feature was removed in Android 4.4.2 KitKat, as the App Ops feature was created for Google’s use only.
Starting with Android M, Google will give all users means of better managing the permissions apps require. The company wants to decouple permission acceptance from app installs, meaning that the user will not have to accept all the apps permissions requests before being able to install an app.
There will reportedly be two ways to manage permissions controls. One will supposedly be located in the Settings app, where users will be able to manage permissions on a app-by-app basis, and toggle them on and off depending on their needs. In other words, you would be able to quickly and easily stop the Facebook app from accessing your location.
The second method involves dealing with dialogue prompts just like iOS, which will pop up the first time an app requires access to a certain resource.
We hope the latter part of this leak is indeed correct, because otherwise this new feature will likely be overlooked by most users, who won’t know to dig through the Settings app so they can disable individual permissions.
One potential downside of this privacy-enhancing feature is the fact that developers will have to adapt their apps so they “degrade gracefully” in case certain permissions are denied.
A mockup screenshot showing what granular permissions controls might look like on Android M can be seen below.