Android 11 may revoke app permissions automatically

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 25, 2020
Google Android

Google released the third developer preview of the upcoming Android 11 operating system. The preview includes a number of changes and also some new features that developers and those interested in previewing new versions may check out right now.

One of the changes spotted by Mishaal Rahman is designed to improve user privacy by removing application permissions automatically if the applications have not been used for a while.

Please note that features and changes in preview versions may or may not land in final versions of Android. It is possible that the feature is changed or even removed entirely again by Google before the final release of Android 11.

Right now, auto revoke permissions is attached to the settings of each application installed on the device. There is no global switch to toggle it on, and it is off by default.

android 11 auto revoke permissions

To use it, open the permissions of the application on the device and toggle the "auto revoke permissions" option. Android will remove permissions for this app "if the app isn't used for a few months". It seems that only some permissions, but not all, are removed from the app if the app has not been used for the time period required to activate the revoking of permissions.


The feature is not really that useful at the time of writing. First, because it needs to be enabled for each application individually. Most Android users probably never discover the feature and the majority probably does not want to toggle the option for each application individually either.

Second, because the time period that Google has defined, a few months, is vague and, in my opinion, too long to be of much use. Third and finally, it appears that only some permissions are revoked by the feature.

Closing Words

Auto revoke permissions needs a global toggle that users may set automatically. If an app is not used for months, or even weeks, then it is a good idea to revoke permissions of the app automatically. An option to set the period manually, e.g. to 2 weeks instead of a couple of months, but certainly be useful as well.

Google plans to release beta releases of Android 11 before the final version of the new operating system version is released later this year.

Now You: Useful feature or not? What is your take?

Android 11 may revoke app permissions automatically
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Android 11 may revoke app permissions automatically
Android 11 devices may revoke application permissions automatically if they are configured that way by the owner of the device.
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  1. RachelP said on May 27, 2022 at 12:17 am

    Any feature inflicted on users without informed consent is a UX anti-pattern. Even worse if you think turning it on globally and silently is somehow mitigated by having to disable this feature app-by-app, with no way of knowing what permissions the app even had in the first place. I just had a banking app for an infrequently-used account stop working because of this ill-conceived bullshit. Give us a way to turn it off globally. And also give us a quick way to restore app permissions, without having to know what they were before this jack-in-a-box “security” feature broke them.

  2. VanguardLH said on May 11, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    Google has gotten around to migrating this “feature” to older versions of Android. I’m on Android 8.0 (and no chance to update to a later version, because LG dropped support on the V20 back in 2019, and also exited the phone market). I get a prompt saying permissions were removed on an app that had not been used in the last 3 months. Okay, so I tap on the listed app, but “Remove permissions if app isn’t used” is off. When I go to Android settings -> Apps -> pick the app -> and look at the permissions, yep, it has none. All permissions were removed, or how many there were before. There is no option to restore the permissions it had before the unwanted “protection” remove them. So, just how are users supposed to know which permissions to re-enable?

  3. Arty said on April 23, 2022 at 10:58 am

    It’s uses rigid unintelligent criteria & it doesn’t provide a global OFF. I have many apps that I use infrequently but I do trust. This is basically just a pest & once again a case of Google “dictating” what should be a user preference. If we understand the risks we should be able to turn it off system wide not laboriously go through all our apps.

  4. Don said on November 13, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    It just revoked location permission from “Find My Device”. Yeah. Right.

  5. Samanto Hermes said on April 27, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Firefox is becoming a Chrome copycat, and Android is becoming a iOS copycat. Thanks Google :)

  6. Benjamin said on April 27, 2020 at 7:14 am

    I wonder if that feature would disable the very services on devices of the company mentioned in here and naturally all the other privacy looting as well. For me such behaviour, even though it is kind of accepted normality to systematically steal other peoples data, is outright criminal. Since said corporation has, by sheer might a monopoly on mobile OSs, one can only opt out of modern communication instead of making a more complex choice

  7. asd said on April 27, 2020 at 12:09 am

    A few months?! that is enough time to collect and upload all your phone’s storage…

    Android permissions are pretty useless, as long as you have no choice over internet access permission.

    1. Fred said on April 28, 2020 at 1:33 am

      “No Root Firewall” for Android is very good to monitor and block all/some connections to the internet by every app on your phone, including system apps.

  8. ULBoom said on April 26, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    Google and MS seem to be in a race to see who can meddle the most. I don’t know if this is valuable or not; if there’s a clear notification that permissions have been disabled (how do you remove a permission?) and an equally clear button to restore them, fine. If you don’t want your phone played with remotely, it would be very annoying.

    It’s only trust that keeps Google from taking or delivering data regardless of phone settings; blocking an app for no reason except an expired use period doesn’t seem to help users at all. Seems part of their 2020 initiative to sell ostensible “security.”

    We keep notifications disabled for everything except messaging, email and a few other things and the play store disabled unless we need to download something. The amount of data that thing uses with twice daily updates is absurd. Add an in-app ad blocker and android actually works OK.

    I doubt most users would care about permissions change notifications, they’d be quickly clicked out of sight along with myriad other start up and in-use notifications.

    I’m on android 5.1, the others on 8 or 9, IDK. Security’s never been an issue maybe because we don’t go for the anthropomorphic pitch.

  9. David Boucher said on April 26, 2020 at 6:39 am

    Whatever update Google puts out for Android is basically useless. We’ll never get it because worthless carriers such as Telstra or Samsung or Optus or who-the-hell-ever won’t bother updating their branded devices.

    1. Yuliya said on April 26, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      In Europe is more common for people to buy unlocked phones, rather than going with a carrier branded one. My Exynos SGS10 got the Android 10 update somewhere in November, which isn’t that bad, it was a couple of months behind my P2XL, but I think it’s acceptable for a phone running a modified Android version to be so close to a Pixel. Sometimes it even gets the monthly security patch faster by a day or two than my Pixel does.

      I’m actually impressed, by what I’ve been reading online I was expecting hell on earth regarding updates on this phone.

  10. Focus said on April 26, 2020 at 1:57 am

    Yes we all trust Google to respect our privacy and security especially in this New World. Pass me the koolaid.

    1. GX said on April 26, 2020 at 11:55 pm

      Security and privacy are different things. The security of Google is phenomenal. About privacy, they never promised you privacy. Nobody does, Microsoft is also open about it and lets you know that they use your data at Bing Ads. Apple promises you privacy but they lie and has been recently caught sending iOS user data to Chinese company Tencent with Safari’s “Fraudulent Website Warning” option. Good luck finding a corp product with privacy inside…. you will need it.

    2. Metal Fan said on April 26, 2020 at 6:35 am

      You can use Ungoogled Android, or maybe LineageOS.

      1. Anonymous said on April 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        Ungoogled android… Really? From the project who is embracing google’s implementation of “privacy guard”, dropped support for root, and refuses spoofing patches?

        I’m sure we can trust them…

  11. Allwynd said on April 25, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    I still have Android 9 on my Nokia 3.1 Plus and the only gripe I’m having with Android is the lack of ability to customize the UI.

    No, I’m not talking about launchers, icon packs or 3rd party notification centers, I’m talking about an ability baked into the OS allowing me to pick my UI colors, all throughout the UI, but mostly the Settings part, which is the part that can never be changed.

    And it’s so simple – all they have to do is allow people to pick their colors.

    1. Tony said on April 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      I can do that in my Pixel 4, and I know some custom roms can do that also, so maybe it’s up the manufacturers to implement that.

      1. Stephen Crye said on April 13, 2022 at 4:54 am

        The horrible “feature ” just hit my Android 9 phone via play protect. I had to spend an hour turning it off for every app.

        Hey Google, many of us don’t use our phones constantly. We have work to do. You deciding that an app that I haven’t touched for three months somehow needs to be altered, is absurd and ridiculous. I’ll decide when I want to permissions to go off on my apps. Not you. Stop creating extra work for me!

  12. Maelish said on April 25, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    It is a nice feature. But Android 11 will have support for stir/shaken call authentication. This is far more exciting to me than anything else.

    1. Jeremy said on June 29, 2023 at 3:53 am

      I came across this feature when trying to use an old phone. It had removed permissions from my keyboard app, and because I hadn’t updated anything in a while, the only keyboard available was Google Voice, which wouldn’t work. Very annoying, especially the lack of a global toggle. I ended up uninstalling pretty much everything, because the phone kept crashing and I couldn’t input anything.

  13. Yuliya said on April 25, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    I like this idea. Enabled globally for 1 week is what I think the best. With some exceptions for certain system applications, of course.

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