Changelog Droid: Android apps update information - gHacks Tech News

Changelog Droid: Android apps update information

Android apps that you have installed from Google's Play store update automatically, usually. It is a background process that you have no control over. While you find information about updates later in the notifications list, the list itself does not reveal any information on the update itself. You do not really know what has been changed with the update. You could open the apps' Google Play store page and open the what's new tab there to find out what has been updated but that is a lot of work, and especially so if you have more than a couple apps installed that get updated regularly.

Changelog Droid is a free application for Android devices that displays the changelog of all of your recently updated Android apps or apps for which updates are available. This depends on whether you have enabled automatic updates for apps or not.

To find that out open the Google Play store and click on the menu button afterwards. Select Settings from the context menu and look at the Auto-update apps setting here. Back to Changelog Droid. The program displays updates in chronological order on the screen in list form which means that the release notes for all apps are listed on one page and not multiple pages.

changelog droid

You can configure Changelog Droid to monitor the store for you to display notifications when updates for installed apps are available. What's interesting is that you can also monitor non-installed apps this way, so that you can keep tabs on an application without installing it. This may be interesting if you are waiting for errors to be resolved for instance, or a feature that you need to be included in the app before you install it on your phone or tablet. A blacklist feature is available which you can use to block updates for selected apps.

The free version of Changelog Droid displays advertisement, a commercial version is available that does not and provides you with themes that you can install.

The application requests a lot of permissions. The developer explains why individual permissions are requested by the app so that you know for what functionality it is needed.

The option to be notified about application updates before they are installed is definitely welcome as it gives you better control over the updating process. The application is compatible with all version of Android from 2.2 on.

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Comments

  1. rick said on December 6, 2012 at 12:31 am
    Reply

    Hey Melanie,

    Did you notice the permissions on this one?

    This application has access to the following:

    Your accounts
    use accounts on the device
    Allows the app to request authentication tokens.
    add or remove accounts
    Allows the app to perform operations like adding and removing accounts, and deleting their password.

    Yep – can add and remove your google account, and delete / change your password.

    Not for me with these permissions …

    1. Taomyn said on December 6, 2012 at 9:57 am
      Reply

      I concur – too many permissions.

      Just install TitaniumBackup and use its MarketTool to mark all apps as not automatically updating. Then you’ll be in total control.

      BTW. Automatic updating has not been the default for quite sometime, except for Google Apps, and now for all apps you’re asked if you want it enabled during installation.

  2. cypressious said on December 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm
    Reply

    Dev here. Thanks for the review.

    Just to clear some things up, the Blacklist doesn’t actually block updates. It prevents Changelog Droid from notifying you when a certain app has updates available (and you didn’t turn on automatic updates).

    The Google account permission is required to get a so called authentication token to access the Play Store. My app doesn’t touch your account data and never will.

    1. rick said on December 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm
      Reply

      You can access the Play store without using the user’s actual token.

      Although you might have good intentions, it would be so simple for someone to use your installed application to do those things we all worry about. Unfortunately your phone is only as secure as the least secure app you have installed.

      1. cypressious said on December 8, 2012 at 1:16 am
        Reply

        Could you please explain how to access the Play Store without the token?

        Here’s an in-depth explanation from my side:

        Changelog Droid is using the unofficial Market API. You can find the developer page here: http://code.google.com/p/android-market-api/
        As you can see from the wiki (http://code.google.com/p/android-market-api/wiki/WithAndroid) a token is required to establish a connection and that all of the permissions are required to get the token. Again, the token is not the password and can be invalidated at any time.

        As a backup option, Changelog Droid is also using the AppAware API (http://dev.appaware.com/). It does work without a Google account token, but the results are are not as up-to-date and the whole process is not as fast as the first one. It is especially used as an addition to update checks, if the option “Intense check” is turned on. Because I try to deliver the most recent results, it’s not the main source.

        I can understand your skepticism, but as a developer I try to integrate useful features which require different permissions. In fact, an app with the described permissions is *not* able to view or change your account passwords. In the documentation (http://developer.android.com/reference/android/accounts/AccountManager.html#getPassword%28android.accounts.Account%29) you can see that the respective methods need the additional permission AUTHENTICATE_ACCOUNTS which Changelog Droid does *not* request.

  3. Brian McLeod said on May 7, 2018 at 1:06 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for clearing things up dev. Much appreciated.

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