Google to prevent apps from accessing the full list of apps on phones

NEW DELHI: Did you know that a single app on your smartphone can see all the other apps you have installed on your device, thus accessing sensitive information such as dating preferences, banking information, political affiliation and password management, etc.? Google announced the change of this system on its Play Store from May 5.
In an update, Google said app developers will need to provide a solid reason why the tech giant should allow them to access other apps on users’ smartphones, Arstechnica reports.
Currently, Android 11 apps that request the “Query_All_Packages” permission can see the full list of apps you have stored on your device.
Google has now updated its Developer Program policy, restricting which apps are allowed to use the authorization.
“Apps whose primary purpose is to launch, search, or interact with other apps on the device can gain visibility that is appropriate for the reach of other apps installed on the device,” Google said.
There is an exception for financial apps such as banking apps and P2P wallets, which, according to the page, “may get wide visibility of apps installed only for security purposes.”
If your app meets the policy requirements for acceptable use of the “Query_All_Packages” permission, you will need to declare this permission and any other high-risk permissions using the declaration form in Play Console.
“Apps that do not meet the requirements of the regulation or do not submit a declaration form may be removed from Google Play. Important: If you change the way your app uses these restricted permissions, you must revise your declaration with information posted. up to date and accurate, ”Google warned.
“Deceptive and unreported uses of these permissions may result in the suspension of your application and / or termination of your developer account“.
For apps that need to interact with other apps, Google wants developers to use app discovery Apis instead of just extracting the entire list of apps.
The “Query_All_Packages” authorization has been added in Android 11, so it only applies to apps targeting the API level of Android 11, which is “API Level 30.”
The Play Store restrictions also apply to apps targeting API level 30 and above, meaning that few apps will be counted for such restrictions to date.