Feeds

New in Android 4.3: At last we get a grip on privacy-invading crApps

Decide which app can do what, and when - almost like a real computer

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The latest version of Google's Android, 4.3, has a panel controlling access permissions on an app-by-app basis - but only for those users ready to experiment with untested functionality.

The App Ops control was found by Android Police and initially required a hack to bring it to life. Now there's an app in the Google Play store that unlocks the control panel letting anyone running Android 4.3 control exactly which parts of the device and operating system are available to each installed application.

That might mean, for example, letting a Facebook app synchronise with the on-phone address book, while denying it access to the GPS data, or preventing Twitter from clogging up the notification bar while permitting it network access to get updates.

All Android apps come with a list of required privileges - from basic access to the vibration chip, to read and write access to storage memory - and users are asked to approve the list as part of the installation process. But the approval is entirely non-granular - the fandroid either gives approval or cancels the installation, and users always click "yes" when asked a question so the value of the process has been debated.

Whether the applications will continue work with their permission withdrawn or finely tuned on Android 4.3 is hard to say; they may react unpredictably if probing forbidden parts is kicked back with an unexpected error code - which is likely why Google hasn't included the panel by default.

Android Police also reports that the panel has some problems detecting the permissions granted to each app, sometimes only listing them once they've been used.

App Ops should let the more-tech-savvy user control access at a more granular level; preventing Facebook from insisting on its constant polling, or denying location data to the graphics app that insists on geo-tagging every photograph, though its hard to imagine the majority of users taking the time to bother.

There may also be a backlash from developers who don't want their advertising-supported game denied network access. Such apps will run without the network but on the assumption that connectivity will return at some point; if left alone in the world they'll struggle to be viable. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.