Android 11 will keep creepsters from spying with one-time permissions

Android is far from perfect, but Google continues to do its best to make positive changes with each release. Android 10 took a step toward improved privacy by allowing you to grant one-time location permission to apps. In previous Android releases, you had to give a blanket “Yes” or “No” to each app accessing your location. So, while you may be OK with Google Maps having permanent access to your location, you may only want the Walmart app to have one-time access so it knows what store you're closest to.

When Android 11 rolls out, we will get yet another dose of enhanced security, as Google will transfer this one-time permissions function to the microphone and camera. So, when you download an app that uses the camera or microphone, Android will prompt you with three options: deny permissions, grant permissions all the time or grant permission once.

If you select the latter, the Android will present the same prompt each time you open the app. If you grant access, the app will work as expected. If you don’t grant the required permissions, the app cannot access your camera of mic.

So, why is this so important? If an app is running in the background and has full access to your camera and mic, it can record you whenever it wants. And in today’s world of bad actors and hackers, this could put you in quite a precarious situation.

It’s not the apps you necessarily need to worry about. What should be concerning is a hacker gaining control of the app and using its unmitigated access to your camera and mic to their advantage. Next thing you know, there could be an unfavorable recording of you the hacker can use to squeeze money from you.

Fortunately, the Android 11 update will give you more flexibility in who can access your camera or mic and when they can access it.

Android 11’s release date is not confirmed yet, but reports indicate it’ll be announced in full on May 12, 2020 and available in October 2020. This date is still fluid, though, as the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed many launches. We’ll update you if this time frame changes.