Google is limiting Android 11 apps from seeing other apps installed on devices
Google says that these changes apply to all the apps that target Android API level 30 or later on devices running Android 11 or later.
Google has announced a host of updates to its developer policy regarding the distribution of apps on the Play Store. The most meaningful of those updates is the company limiting developers from seeing the apps that are installed on users' smartphones.
As a part of Google's ongoing work to restrict the use of high risk or sensitive permissions, which includes QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission, which as per the company gives developers the visibility into the inventory of installed apps on a given device.
Google says that these changes apply to all the apps that target Android API level 30 or later on devices running Android 11 or later. The enforcement of the new policy was supposed to happen earlier but it got delayed owing to the pandemic.
“Due to COVID-19 related considerations, enforcement for apps that target Android 11 (API level 30) and request QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES will not start until mid-2021. This includes new apps as well as updates to existing apps,” Google wrote in an update on its support page.
The changes will now come into effect on May 5, 2021.
As per the new policy, developers can ask and use sensitive information only when their apps' core user-facing functionality or purpose requires broad visibility into installed apps on the user's device. “If your app does not meet the requirements for acceptable use below, you must remove it from your app's manifest in order to comply with Play policy,” the company explained.
The company cautioned that apps that fail to meet policy requirements or do not submit a Declaration Form may be removed from Google Play. “Deceptive and non-declared uses of these permissions may result in a suspension of your app and/or termination of your developer account,” it added.
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