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Automatically revoke permissions for unused Android apps



Permissions for Facebook apps on Android
Monster Ztudio / Shutterstock

When you̵

7;re no longer actively using an app, it’s best to revoke any sensitive permissions you may have provided. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that manually on your Android phone or tablet.

Introduced in Android 11, the permissions feature provides a handy option that automatically revokes permissions from an app you haven’t opened for a while. This setting cannot be applied globally across the operating system, which means that you must enable it individually for each app. We recommend enabling it, especially for developer apps you don’t trust. Here’s how to access it.

Before we begin, keep in mind that every Android manufacturer customizes the name of various menus and settings. The following steps and screenshots cover the process on a Samsung phone. Although the names may differ, the process will be very similar.

Open the “Settings” app on your Android smartphone or tablet. You can find it in the app drawer or by tapping the gear icon in the notification shade.

Visit the Settings app on Android

Select ‘Apps & Notifications’.

Navigate to Apps & notifications in the Android settings

Inside, tap on the option “View all apps”.

Navigate to the list of all apps in Android settings

Find the app that you want to automatically revoke permissions after a few months because it hasn’t been used. Tap the “Permissions” option.

Navigate to the app's permission settings on Android

Enable the ‘Remove permissions when app is not used’ setting at the bottom of the page.

Set automatic removal of app permissions on Android

If you don’t use this app for a few months, your phone or tablet will disconnect from all data modules and sensors it has access to. If you choose WhatsApp, it will lose permissions to access the camera, microphone, local storage and more.

The set of permissions this setting applies to depends on the app. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that it’s only available in a limited form for system-level apps. That’s why, for example, you can’t instruct Android to automatically revoke Gmail’s access to your phone’s contacts and calendar.

Google doesn’t specify when Android automatically revokes app permissions between uses. But along the way, when and if this setting is activated for an app, Android will notify you and also provide an option to uninstall the app.


Do you want more control over the privacy of your smartphone? You can do more to better manage permissions on Android and how much of your data each app can read.




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