Permissions on Android

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Sensors

Permission Purpose
Body Sensor Helps “Smart Lock” function correctly, implemented in the “rise to wake” feature.

 

Personal

Permission Purpose
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

 

Social Media

Permission Purpose
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.)

 

Services

Permission Purpose
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.)