WHAT ARE SMARTPHONE APP PERMISSIONS AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT THEM !!!

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Google Playstore and AppStore have thousands of Apps and they will be downloaded millions of times by billions of smartphone users across the world. Apps really make our life much more easier and comfortable with their features than a smartphone without Apps. One common mistake that people do is that After downloading and installing an app, it will ask for specific permissions on your smartphone to work smoothly. Most people will grant the access to those permissions without having a look at the permissions that an app ask for.

If we grant permission to an app that really doesn’t Need for the app to function smoothly, there is a chance of privacy Breach and personal data of users might be at high Risk.

HOW APP PERMISSIONS WORK ?

While developing any App, be it an Android App or IOS App or Windows App, the developer will code in such a way that the app should be given certain permissions to function smoothly. So, App Permissions are nothing but the sensitive data that app requires to function without any drag.

Consider INSTAGRAM, which is a popular photo sharing App. So, For uploading pics on to the App, the App should be given access to Gallery.And Users have also Option to upload the pics that were clicked on love from camera. So, It’s obvious that the App should also be given Camera Access.

Previously. Android developers used to specify even very small permissions like vibration in the App Description section. But now, technology has evolved and small permissions had moved to “other” sections in description.

HOW TO CHECK THE PERMISSIONS THAT AN APP REQUIRES :

There are 2 ways to check permissions that an app requires to function smoothly.

INSTALLED APPS :

  • If an app is already installed on your smartphone, Go to Settings–>Apps.
  • From the list of Apps, Select the App and click on “Permissions”.
  • Upon Clicking “Permissions”, All the Permissions required for an app will be displayed and one can disable the specific permissions too.

APPS THAT ARE NOT INSTALLED :

  • Consider, there is an app which is not installed on your smartphone, but still you want to check the permissions required for the App.
  • Go to Google Playstore or AppStore, Search for the App and click on “Description”.
  • In “Description” section, One can see the description of the app, it’s features and the “Permissions” required.

6 IMPORTANT SMARTPHONE APP PERMISSIONS :

There are numerous App Permissions that needs to be granted for apps to run smoothly. But, Let’s see 6 important App Permissions That Everyone should care About.

  1. Gallery.
  2. Camera.
  3. Microphone.
  4. Contacts.
  5. Location.
  6. Messaging.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT APP PERMISSIONS ?

Lets consider the same example of “INSTAGRAM” that we had discussed above. Gallery and Camera permissions are essential for it to run good. But, if Instagram is asking for your Messaging Access, then there is something Fishy and we should revoke or should not give such access.

Let’s see another example of Game “Sudoku“. While installing the Game, If it asks about your camera access, this is a big privacy breach as there is absolutely no need for a game to access your camera. In such cases, if one have accidentally granted Camera Access, the App can shoot your personal videos and can be shared in whatever platform they needed.

In Some other cases, Some Apps will ask for “Microphone” Access although there is no need for it. In Such cases, these Apps will Record the words that One is speaking with their friends or the movies that you are watching. Here is an interesting thing, the data that is collected will be sent to websites and will be used for “Marketing” purposes. It happened to me once that I was talking about a “Mobile” with my Friend. And to my surprise, when I opened Facebook, there were all recommendations of that Specific product from Amazon and Flipkart. This is one example of a big privacy breach.

CONCLUSION :

App Permissions are like double edged sword as when given appropriately, it will help app to run smoothly without any issues. But if we grant unnecessary permissions to apps, it might result in Privacy Breach.

So, Be careful when you are granting permissions to any app that is installed on your smartphone and grant only necessary permissions that are needed for proper functioning of the App.

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