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UTILITY: App Ops allows to Control App Access Rights on Android 4.3 and Android 4.4
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 26.11.13 - 13:40:29 CET under 04 - Android News - Viewed 5010x
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Privacy is a hot topic nowadays and apps privacy even more. There are countless apps in all the app stores which have countless rights to access personal data. From location to personal information like calendar, contacts, etc. entries to to messaging like SMS and more. And while all these access rights often make a lot of sense, too often these rights don't make sense at all. I'm not going to say that all these apps are fraudulent, often enough developers don't pay enough attention to the rights they request, but sometimes it leaves a bad feeling to know that a certain app has read/write rights it doesn't need at all. "Apps Ops" is a new and a clever app which allows Android users to control some of the permissions, an installed or preinstalled app has.

With the introduction of Android 4.3, Google released a hidden feature called "App Ops". It allowed to selectively disable permissions for certain apps but it seems that Google was either not happy with the quality or it didn't want to bother its business partners by allowing users to turn off permissions which are used for data collection (just a wild guessing). Nevertheless, it never made it to the front menu and it even seemed that the feature disappeared with the release of Android 4.4. However, it's still there and App Ops provides access to this feature which allows to review the access rights. Furthermore, the app, which works with Android 4.3 and Android 4.4 devices, isn't requesting any special permissions by itself - which makes sense. Apps Ops provides a pretty straight forward user interface which lists the access rights for location, personal, messaging and device settings and allows to disable certain rights an app has requested with the installation. While these are by far not all permissions an app can request, it's a pretty good start for reviewing and maybe limiting app permissions.

The development of this app seems to be in an early stage, but it's already quite powerful and supports - as mentioned - Android 4.4. Since App Ops seems to be still under Google's development, using the app can cause some trouble. So it's advised that you better know what you are doing as well as it's always a good idea to make a backup first.

Cheers ~ Arne

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