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Android 11: Security and privacy features you need to know

Android 11 is putting security and privacy in the forefront with one-time permissions and biometric authentication support. 

While Android 10 took some well-measured steps towards improving its security and privacy features, Google is looking to make it better with Android 11. 
While Android 10 took some well-measured steps towards improving its security and privacy features, Google is looking to make it better with Android 11.  (Pixabay)

Apple has always had a one-up over Android when it comes to privacy and security. While Android 10 took some well-measured steps towards improving its security and privacy features, Apple stole the show with the iOS 13’s capabilities of overhauling app permissions.

Google has been working on a similar overhaul in Android 10 which adds the “while app is in use” permission option to prevent tracking, it looks like they are all set to make it better with what’s coming in Android 11.

Android 11 is putting security and privacy in the forefront. “We’ve added multiple new features to help users manage access to sensitive data and files, and we’ve hardened critical areas of the platform to keep the operating system resilient and secure,” Google said.

One-time permissions

Android 11 will come with the feature that allows an app to get permission just once. This feature will be available for the Microphone, Location and Camera. What this means is that the app will seek permission to track location or record audio every time you open it.

Another permissions feature that Android 11 brings in will impact developers - the scooped storage. This feature is already there in Android 10 and allows you to keep apps in a data sandbox of sorts. This essentially means that these sandboxed apps cannot read outside information unless you give them permission. Google is making this a default for developer apps in Android 11.

In the privacy field, Google is improving user privacy by updating the Google Play Policy to ensure that developer apps can “only request location permissions when truly necessary”.

Biometric authentication

Android 11 brings in some biometrics-focused developments like Face Unlock and fingerprint scans as authentication for apps, like say on WhatsApp and banking apps for example. 

Google has made changes to the BiometricPrompt API to let developers support these security features in their apps more easily.

Secure storage and retrieval of identity documents

Another feature in Android 11 is the support for secure storage and the ability to retrieve verifiable identification documents like driving license etc. 

The long-term focus for this is to let Android phone users leave their IDs and wallets at home since they can access cards via Google Pay and ID documents as well through their phones.