Google says it will restore the app permissions section on the Play Store

Jul 22, 2022
Google Android

Earlier this week, Google made a rather unusual decision to stop displaying app permissions on the Play Store. The move took users by surprise, and caused quite the confusion.

Google says it will restore the app permissions section on the Play Store
When a friend of mine sent me a link to an icon pack app, I spent a few minutes trying to find out the permissions that it required, before giving up on the quest. Google changes its app store's design frequently, so I thought this was probably some glitch, or perhaps the option had been moved to a different location on the page. It was only after reading Martin's article, that I came to know that it wasn't a bug.

TechCrunch reports that it received confirmation from the search giant that it had indeed removed the section on purpose. However, why it did so remains a mystery.

Here's where things get more interesting. Just 4 days after removing it, Google has confirmed via a message posted on Twitter, that it will restore the app permissions section on the Play Store. The Mountain View company says that the decision to reinstate it comes after receiving feedback from users. That's good news, but it has not mentioned when the change would be made.

I think that Google wanted to replace the Android app permissions section with the Data Safety part that is available on listings on the Play Store. Though they may appear to serve a similar purpose, the information that the two sections are quite different.

App Permissions tell you how data is collected by an app, for example by accessing your call logs, location, camera, etc. The Data Safety section on the other hand sort of explains the types of data that an app collects from your device, it also gives you an idea about how the developer will use the data, i.e., whether it shares the information with third-parties. So, you could say that app permissions is the more important feature of the two, as it gives you more control over the data collection. You could just deny specific permissions to an app to play it safe, and use the Privacy Dashboard in Android 12 to manage your settings.

That's why it is, in my opinion, App Permissions are the most important information on the Play Store. It could prove to be the deciding factor, whether a user installs an app or not. This could hurt developers more than it does Google.

Data Safety isn't new per se, Google introduced it in April this year. It is quite similar to Apple's App Privacy section that is available on its iOS App Store.

The company's announcement about Data Safety mentions that developers are required to complete this section for their apps by July 20th. The deadline ended a couple of days ago, which means the rule is now in effect. But if you search for apps on the Play store and read their Data Safety section, you may be surprised to find that not many developers are following the rule. A notable example is the Amazon app, its Data Safety section just says, "No information available." It is unclear whether Google has given developers a grace period, but hopefully we may see more details popping up soon.


Do you check an app's required permissions before installing it?

Google says it will restore the app permissions section on the Play Store
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Google says it will restore the app permissions section on the Play Store
App Permissions are coming back to the Google Play Store.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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