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.
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.
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.
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