Don’t want to let an Android app have access to your contact list? Right now you basically have two choices: don’t install the app, or root your phone and install a tool like XPrivacy which lets you send fake data to apps.

But it’s possible Google could change the way Android works to give users more control over which apps can access which types of data.

Bloomberg reports that Google is planning to do just that.

messenger permission

According to Bloomberg’s unnamed sources, the new privacy controls will let users restrict access to certain types of data including contacts, location, or photos.

Clearly some apps work best when they have access to your personal data. A third-party SMS app wouldn’t be much use if it couldn’t access your contact list. But there may be no good reason to grant a game or photo app access to the same information if you don’t plan to use any optional social features.

As Bloomberg points out, Apple already lets iPhone and iPad users deny access to certain permissions requested by apps. If Google does bring the feature to the next version of Android, it could give users of the two most popular smartphone platforms similar access to privacy controls.

There’s no word on when Google will officially unveil the new features or roll them out to the public, but we’ve already seen evidence that the company plans to unveil the next version of its mobile operating system, code-named Android M, at the Google I/O developer conference later this month. Maybe we’ll hear more about privacy controls at the same time?

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7 replies on “Report: Android to offer better privacy controls”

  1. NO way this gonna happen IMO. Google’s life-blood is LACK of privacy! Even if by some miracle (or more likely some evil plan by Google) it does happen, it will NEVER apply to Google itself.

  2. Basically App Ops back again? Seems to come and go with approximately alternate major versions…

    1. I like App Opps quite a bit on my rooted Nexus 5; what is being proposed sounds to me a little more like Cyanogenmod’s Privacy Guard. Which I actually like less, it’s more narrowly focussed on contacts and location, I would rather be able to toggle off and on any permissions, for any app. Xprivacy is great in this regard, but I am waiting for it to get a little more stable on 5.x/lollipop (and it does require a lot more fiddling with than either App Opps or Privacy Guard). I would be excited (but surprised) if Google actually gave everyone that much control…

  3. I’m VERY doubtful Google will give complete control over app permissions to users. . . . . if they do give any control over app permissions I expect it will be very limited.

  4. I hope this is true. There are a bunch of apps I will not use because they require access to everything, most of which is not needed for the app to function.

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