Permissions on Android
According to Android Developers, “the purpose of a permission is to protect the privacy of an Android user.” We come across all these permissions in two ways:
- Runtime requests. For devices running Android Marshmallow (6.0/API level 23) or higher and apps that target that same API level, you’re presented the permissions request when you first open the app.
- Install-time requests. For devices running Android Lollipop (5.1.1/API level 22) or lower, or the app’s API level is 22 or lower on any Android version, you’re presented the permissions request before installing the app on the Play Store.
Additionally, permissions requests give you the option to enable apps to work the way they’re supposed to work. Here are all the permissions listed in my OnePlus 6, organized in a way that shows what kind of apps pertain to those permissions.
|Body Sensor||Helps “Smart Lock” function correctly, implemented in the “rise to wake” feature.|
|Calendar||Reads anything that’s in your calendar app to display information (meetings, birthdays, etc.) in apps/widgets such as “At a Glance”|
|Call Logs||Displays your call logs from apps like Google Duo or the Phone app itself|
|Contacts||Reads your contacts to display information such as predictions in keyboard apps (Swiftkey, Gboard, etc.)|
|Phone||Reads your phone state, wakes up your phone when you get a call, pauses music when you get a call, etc.|
|SMS||Reads your text messages to keep the messages in third=party texting apps like Textra, can provide keyboard predictions|
|Camera*||Accesses your camera to take pictures, record videos|
|Microphone*||To listen in when recording a voice note, video, or using Shazam|
|Storage||Reads your storage to be able to save files (pictures, videos, etc.)|
|Location*||Uses your GPS to track your location for services like Uber or Instagram stickers|
|Car Information||Android Auto|
The permissions on your list can be different from mine depending on the Android Version and phone you have, but it should be easy to know, based on the symbol.
* These three permissions are the ones that are brought up the most in terms of privacy. Some apps access these permissions without the user’s knowledge, let alone having any justifiable reason to access these permissions when the app has no need (like a music player wanting to access your location).
Disabling some permissions are possible for some apps (Android Marshmallow/6.0 and higher!) On my Instagram, I only have those three permissions enabled because those are the main things I use when on the app. It will vary for everyone. However, app stability can change if the permission you disabled is a big part of it (Snapchat will close if you deny its Camera permission.)