Abstract: Android has come a long way in enhancing its security features and building out privacy controls for users, including with its Android 12 innovations. But as Apple continues to crack down on ad-tracking in an iOS 14 feature, the bar is higher than ever—and in ways that increasingly complicate Google’s balance between the privacy its users deserve and the targeted advertising that drives its business.
Android 12 Lets You See What Your Apps Are Getting IntoA new privacy dashboard and “app hibernation” are coming to Google’s mobile operating system.Google’s new privacy dashboard breaks down app activity by category— like “Location,” “Camera,” and “Microphone”—and then shows you which apps accessed those mechanisms, and for how long.Photograph: Getty Images
“With this release we want to keep narrowing down the scope of what data apps get,“ says Android group product manager Charmaine D’Silva. „It’s taken some time to get it right, but the main focus of this release is giving a deeper level of transparency to users.”Android 12 includes a “Privacy Dashboard” where you can see which apps used potentially sensitive permissions in the past 24 hours. The dashboard breaks down app activity by category— like “Location,” “Camera,” and “Microphone”—and then shows you which apps accessed those mechanisms. Google will also be asking developers to provide additional information on what they were using the access for at that particular moment. And you can adjust or revoke app permissions through the dashboard. It gives more insight than you might be used to into how apps work in the background, especially because it includes not only that an app accessed, say, location data or your microphone, but when and for how long.