Whenever you install an app on your Android device, it could ask for access to various parts of the system, such as drawing over other apps, saving photos to your camera roll, viewing your list of contacts and more.
While some of these will make sense, a messaging app asking to see your contacts, for example, others may over-reaching and invading your privacy or security. After all, a wallpaper app does not need to be able to make calls.
We show you how to manage and change the permissions granted to apps on your Android smartphone or tablet.
How to see what permissions apps have on Android
When you look for an app on the Google Play Store, the description will let you know what permissions it expects to be granted. These aren’t on the front page though, so to view the demands tap About this app, scroll down and until you see App permissions then tap See More.
This will reveal a list of all the permissions the app is seeking. While it may seem a bit excessive in some cases, you can always turn off some of these once it’s been installed, as we’ll outline below.
How to change app permissions
Some apps will request access to parts of your system when you use them for the first time. You’ve probably seen these pop-up boxes, where you’ll be asked to Allow or Deny the permission.
Use your judgement as to what you think is suitable for each app but remember that they need certain things to be able to function. So, denying a social media app access to your camera and photos will mean you won’t be able to share pictures or use video-chat features.
How to manage permissions for apps that are already installed
Apps with excessive permissions can sometimes be a drain on your battery or security, so it’s a good idea to check on ones you think might be causing problems. This is easy to do, as you just need to open Settings then select Apps & notifications (or something along those lines depending on the version of Android you’re running).
Find the app in question, tap on it, then select Permissions. You’ll see a list of all the current settings, with each permission enabled or disabled via the toggle switches to the right of their names.
Alter the settings to suit your requirements, then you’ll be able to carry on in the knowledge that your weather map isn’t going to be making any secret phones calls while you’re asleep.
Armed with this power over permissions, you can check out our recommendations for the
best Android apps as well as
permanently delete apps that you no longer need.