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Hidden “App Ops” Feature in Android 4.3 Lets You Selectively Disable Permissions From Apps

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Hidden not-so-deep inside of Android 4.3′s settings activities, you’ll find an interesting new addition called App Ops that appears to be a work-in-progress setting for letting users manage permissions of apps with more control. You can access App Ops using an app that allows for shortcut making of activities, or you can download a handy app called Permission Manager (link below) that was recently created to access this menu on the fly. 

So what exactly does App Ops do? Once accessed, you’ll find four columns of tabs for Location, Personal, Messaging, and Device. In each column, the OS has added apps that it feels meet the particular category, which is a nice attempt at organization. From category columns, you can tap on individual apps to access the area that’s most important – permission control.

In each app listing, you’ll see the list of permissions for each that can be either toggled to On or Off. For example, if you don’t want Hangouts accessing your camera, you can turn it to off. If you don’t want Twitter knowing your location, you can turn that off too.

According to Android Police, this new App Ops section isn’t quite ready for prime time yet, so toggling some of these features on or off could provide mixed results. Just know before you go tweaking and removing permissions, that you are doing so in an unfinished product. Either way, it’s a pretty exciting development, especially for security and privacies freaks.

Can you imagine how great this would be if you were allowed to deny specific permissions during the installation process of an app? That may be in the works as well.

Play Link

app ops1

Via:  Android Police

  • EddieE

    The app mentioned above wants me to buy premium and shows some information i don’t wan’t to see..

    If you want an app that only launches the permission manager and does nothing else go for this alternative: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.boogoo.permissionmanager.app.ops.launcher

  • KanishkSingh

    If the can add granular level for location will be great. You can turn off gps for the app but keep other location service on.

  • DK

    I imagine turning off permissions that apps expect would cause them to crash left and right. The apps expect those privileges as they were granted by the user in the first place. Anyone complaining about specific permissions doesnt understand the apps need for it or simply doesnt trust them. If you dont trust them, dont use it. If 4.3 offers users select retraction of privileges, the SDK api update might have extra means for devs to reverify each permission is still granted, and they could then halt its function til all are restored. Otherwise clueless security freaks will offer negative feedback that it keeps crashing, etc etc. When its their own fault.

  • antinorm

    Like a couple other people have already said, CM & AOKP have had this for some time now. Certain apps handle permission denial gracefully, and certain others will crash (it’s more the app’s fault than the feature’s fault — if a Java exception is thrown that the app isn’t expecting and thus doesn’t have a try-catch block for, it’ll crash the application).

  • AD4

    Just got the OTA. :)

  • Go Hawkeyes

    Will this require root at all? I use Permissions Denied for some apps but every day I have to disable root to use Good for Enterprise for work email. And then of course Permissions Denied won’t work. I’d love to disable some of the GFE permissions. My work has no need to access my GPS, mic, or camera.

    • Intellectua1

      If you click the Play Store links it says no root required..

  • Michael Nichols

    All this post tells me is Hangouts will soon get SMS integrated!!

    • Ryuuie

      Good catch!

    • aaa

      Nope – it already sends and receives SMS to verify your phone number…

  • Mahercs

    There is/was an app called LBE Privacy Guard that did exactly this, but it started getting weird and people started to give it a bunch of 1 star reviews. Apparently, there was a Chinese version that was working ok, but had to be translated which was sloppy. Ironically, the privacy of the app was an issue.

    • Miguel Angel Portela

      This was exactly what I thought of. LBE is part of MIUI. And it has been for ages. I mean I’m glad that it’s native now but this is pretty old hat.

    • antinorm

      There was an English version of LBE that worked nicely on GB (not sure about ICS). If you tried installing it on JB, though, it would bootloop your phone…hence all the 1-star reviews. I don’t know if it was ever updated to fix this, or if it was abandoned.

  • ashclepdia

    can we say that aosp kanged custom roms on this one? lol
    (not that its a bad thing)
    surprised it took until 4.3 for it to start to become available

  • stewie

    Nice to see it is being added to the mainstream releases, has been a feature, and you should have mentioned this int he post, on custom ROM’s forever depending on the ROM

  • FAL_Fan

    Brilliant!

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    :O

  • GarHIII

    Thanks AOKP. I’ve been using this for quite some time now…

    • Tejas

      Actually, it should be Thanks CM….They invented this privacy guard feature and ROMs like AOKP just adopt a lot of this stuff from CM

      • michael arazan

        Will this be able to ward off those Push Advertisements we sometimes get when we install an app we’re curious about?

        Also my friend downloaded an app that spams all his friends in their emails trying to make them click on bad sites. But he has an S4 and can’t get this yet. But these are options we should all have or should be regulated better in the play store

  • Shaunwin

    Can’t applaud loud enough!!!!