Helpful Privacy Tools For Android 4.3+

/ 4 years ago


Wanting to run apps on your Android smartphone but worried about your privacy? Well good news, Android Operating Systems 4.3 and higher will now let you install apps while denying some apps’ attempts to collect your personal information.

Being built from ground up, Android’s Operating System was designed to have a very strong and sophisticated system of per-app permission however many of the privacy-sensitive permissions are described or displayed poorly and are confusing.  This led to issues with the way the Operating System and Google’s Play Store worked. Under the previous Operating Systems, you could not install an app without giving permission for the app to have access to your contacts, pictures, phone number and location. This led to an all-or-nothing proposition, with very few particular ways to protect your private information from the apps’ access.

Although Android’s early model was a vast improvement to Apple’s Operating System, which on launch didn’t even have an app permission model, this was later changed by Apple’s Operating System after many privacy scandals. Apple now forces apps to ask for permission like location, address book and photos. So for the last two years Apple’s app privacy options have been far superior to Android’s.

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However this has changed with the release of  Android 4.3 which has added new features to enhance privacy protection. You can now unlock this feature by installing the new App Ops Launcher. Once installed, you can control most of the privacy-threatening permissions your apps have tried to obtain. For example, you want to install Shazam without the app tracking your location or SideCar without it reading your address book?  This can easily be done using App Ops Launcher by individually selecting app permissions and access.



Despite being overdue and not quite complete, App Ops Launcher is a huge advance in Android privacy. The release of Android’s 4.3 Operating System and the apps to access these changes make your private information safer than before and provides a necessary step in the right direction for the end users of all Android Devices.

Thank you Electronic Frontier Foundation for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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