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How to manage App permissions on your Android device

Understanding and managing app permissions on your Android device can be vital for saving unwarranted access to your data, photos or phone calls.

Whenever you install a new app, it will likely ask for permissions to certain features on your phone, for example, WhatsApp will ask to access your Gallery so you can share photos within your group chats. This request makes perfect sense given the nature of the app. Some apps however may ask for access to features that make less sense, like a stopwatch app requesting use of your microphone. Such a request should raise alarm bells.

In this post we’ll show you how to manage app permissions, so you can take control of these settings to help better protect your privacy.

Note, turning off permissions that may seem overboard may disable certain features of an application. There’s no real risk to doing this, just be aware that the app may request the permission to be reinstated when you make use of an app feature that later requires it.

Check to see what permissions apps have on Android prior to downloading

You can prevent unwarranted access to your phone’s features and contents even before downloading an app.

When you look for an app on the Google Play Store, the description will let you know what permissions it expects to be granted. These aren’t on the front page though, so to view the demands tap About this app, scroll down and until you see App permissions then tap See More.

This will reveal a list of all the permissions the app is seeking. While it may seem a bit excessive in some cases, you can always turn off some of these once it’s been installed, as we’ll outline below.

How to change app permissions on your device

Changing permissions for apps already installed on your device is thankfully pretty straight-forward. You just need to open Settings then select Apps & notifications (or something along those lines depending on the version of Android you’re running).

Find the app in question, tap on it, then select Permissions. You’ll see a list of all the current settings, with each permission enabled or disabled via the toggle switches to the right of their names. Change the settings that seem overkill, then you can be assured that a simple stopwatch or wallpaper app isn’t accessing data or making unnecessary phone calls whilst you are asleep.