It only seems like yesterday when we were all getting excited about the release of Android 10. Android 10 the operating system for mobile phones and tablets around the world provided great improvements. So with the launch of Android 11 in September 2020 what new improvements does Android 11 provide?
A major change in Android 11 is all about privacy. This may sound a little boring, but it’s a really important issue at the moment. As more of us live our lives online understanding how our data is used should be something we’re all concerned about.
New tighter controls introduced by Europe and California has got all our attention back onto privacy. Also, with the news surrounding social media websites such as Facebook being investigated over privacy concerns. It makes sense for Android 11 to go one step further in protecting our privacy when using our phones and tablets.
After all, we spend so much of our time on our phones they have practically taken over how we live our lives. This is great for most of us because it’s an excellent tool to make our busy lives a little bit more manageable.
So let’s take a look at how Android 11 new privacy settings work. It’s a huge improvement and a much-needed shift to give us all a little more control over how our privacy is protected on our Android devices.
GRANTING PERMISSIONS TO APPS
Android 11 has made it much easier to manage your privacy settings. Instead of providing an app you install blanket privacy settings. Android 11 provides a more granular experience, so you have more control over the permissions granted to individual apps.
When you install an app it can ask you to provide access to things such as your camera, microphone, images, Google Drive and your location. When you think about that for a second, you’ll soon realise what this actually means. You’re putting a lot of trust into that app you may not know much about.
In Android 11 you can set the privacy settings for each app you use. However, unlike previously where once the permissions are granted that’s it. You’ll have the option to allow access only once or only when using the app.
This is really great to see because I’m sure we’re all guilty of granting multiple apps permissions without really thinking about it. We’re more interested in using the app we’ve downloaded, so we tend to sign our lives away. It’s then all too easy to leave the app installed and you may never use it again.
The ability of only granting access when the app is being used or only once gives you much greater control over your privacy. This means apps will no longer be able to use the permissions granted indefinitely or until you remove the app from your Android device.
APPS YOU’VE NOT USED ARE STRIPPED OF PERMISSIONS
How many times have you installed an app only to use it once and never open it again? If you’ve got plenty of storage available this is something that can be easily done. It’s far easier to just leave the app where it is and go onto installing other apps, which are more suitable to your needs. Got storage problems? Find out how to free up storage space on your Android device.
We tend to only look at the apps we’ve got installed when we are running out of storage space. It’s only then we realise we’ve still got apps we installed over six months ago. Android 11 will monitor the apps we use on a regular basis. If an app we’ve installed has not been used for a while. Android 11 will remove all the permissions you’ve previously granted it.
Of course, this is only an issue if you’ve decided to give an app permission to work in the background. However, it’s a really good step forward for Android users, as we most likely are all guilty of having apps running in the background without us even knowing about it.
You can manually override this setting if there is a particular app you’re happy to use the original privacy settings. This means you’re in complete control over whether an app you’ve not used for a long time can still have access to different areas of your phone.
PROVIDING LOCATION PERMISSIONS
Android 11 has gone even stricter when it comes to providing apps with permission to recognise your location. This was something, which was already improved with Android 10, so it’s good to see Android 11 has gone one step further.
It’s now more difficult for apps to access your location. When an app initially asks for permission to access your location. It can only request permission to know your location if the app is in use or for that one particular session. The only other option is to never allow the app permission to know your location.
This makes it impossible for apps to run in the background indefinitely tracking your location. If an app needs to know your location in order for the app to achieve its purpose. It can only do so by requesting permission again when it needs to access your location.
For an app to do this it will need to show a pop-up dialogue box on your device. An explanation of why the app needs your location is provided. If you agree with the reasoning of why the app needs your location to work correctly. You’re then provided with a full-screen message where you have full control over whether you accept or decline the app the privilege.
This will make it much easier for you to understand what apps have access to your location. So any rogue apps, which are trying to track your location, will find it much harder.
It’s great to see Android is taking our privacy settings seriously. We already had improvements on when apps can use our location in Android 10. It’s appears those improvements were successful and have been improved upon either further with Android 11.