Android 12 includes a permission management hub, but its not intended for users | #Adroid | #security

Android 12 “Snow Cone” is going to be the flavor of the rest of this month, with Developer Preview 1 giving us our first official taste of the upcoming dessert OS update. We’ve spotted a ton of changes in our Developer Preview 1 Hands-On, but there are even more hidden treats all through the update. One of these is a neat permission management hub, but it looks like Google does not want to open it up for users any time soon.

Before we talk about the premission management hub in Android 12, let’s rewind a bit — by two years, actually. Back in January-February 2019, we managed to get our hands on a leaked build of Android Q ahead of Google’s official Developer Preview release. Within this build, we could spot a new permission management hub. A lot of what we spotted ended up being released in Android 10’s official stable release, but one particular page remained missing — that of the “Permissions Usage Dashboard”. This Dashboard presented an overview of the permissions used on your device by various apps, giving you a fairly broad idea to see what remains the most requested (or abused) permission on your device. As mentioned, the official builds of Android 10 and later since then did not contain this Permissions Usage Dashboard. Well, until now.

On Android 12 Developer Preview 1, the Permissions Usage Dashboard has made a return, but only as an internal tool for debugging purposes as Mishaal found out.

As very clearly alerted on the settings page, the Permissions Usage Dashboard is intended for internal debugging use only. It’s very clear that Google does not intend to release this as a public-facing tool. Why? That is something we do not know, but we can take a few guesses. The Dashboard shows the apps that have accessed any particular permission, but it does not give us any clues on the scope of information that they have accessed, giving us incomplete information. The warning also mentions that the data might not be accurate, which does kind of defeat its overall utility.

Still, it’s a nice bit of information to have on your device, even if you may not be relying on it that heavily. We hope that Google considers adding in a more polished experience for users as well.

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