Android 6.0 Marshmallow app permissions: a closer look


After months of being simply known as "Android M", it finally became clear that the upcoming major version of the OS will be known as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The statue of the Android robot with a giant marshmallow was erected on the lawn in front of Alphabet's most important subsidiary, Google.

Well, the newest developer preview of the OS, the third one, is here and it's already treating us to some of the new fresh features that were demoed during Android M's announcement and will make an official debut later this year, when Marshmallow is going to hit the supported devices.

One of these, which is an important addition to the OS, is granular control over the permissions each and every app requires, giving Android users "meaningful choice and control". Just like in iOS, apps in Android 6.0 Marshmallow will only you to grant them a certain permission immediately before the app needs it and not in bulk during the installation, like in previous Android installments. 

We got the newest developer preview, and as we were moderately excited about the new app permissions feature, we took a closer look at the new app permissions manager that pops up along with the recent beta. For the most part, it's the same one that could be found in the previous developer previews, giving you a pretty good understanding of the permissions each app has been granted.

Talking about granular app permissions, Android 6.0 Marshmallow officially introduces API Level 23, which is one of the requirements to have app permissions that can be granted on demand. All Android apps need to be updated so that they support the brand new API0 Level 23 libraries in order to introduce the individual granular app permissions.

The permission manager can be found in the Apps section inside the Settings menu; once you go there, you need to tap the gear icon at the top, which will hence open the menu giving you access to the app permission manager. Inside, you're presented to a list view of various permissions, like body sensors, calendar, camera, contacts, location, microphone, phone, SMS, storage, and three new categories that came with the Marshmallow dev preview 3, car information, read instant messages and write instant messages. Under each type of app permission, you can see how many apps have been granted access to it by you, the user.  

Of course, they wouldn't be called "granular app permissions" if they didn't allow you to fine tune and disable permissions for individual apps. Tap on a given category and you will be greeted by a list of the apps that are currently enabled to make use of it. You can flip the corresponding switch and grant or revoke the permission in question for the particular app.

This makes app permissions way more transparent - users will have a much clearer understanding of what they're granting each and every app they install. Yet, the same can't be said for app developers, as they'll need to go through their apps and implement the new changes if they want to make use of the new revamped permission system without issues.

It is stressed by Google itself that developers should update their apps and extensively test out the new API libraries and revamped app permissions feature so that any issues and bugs can be ironed out before the sweet new Android officially launches later this year. Here's to hoping that the majority of app developers will listen to Google and update their software.


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27 Comments

1. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Sounds awesome

6. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

But in the end isn't up to the developer to let you use the app with or without permissions? And all these years, all these apps how much personal info they acquired from our devices? Most of all Google itself

10. Oneight

Posts: 33; Member since: Apr 04, 2015

The biggest fault of android is Google. It is creating a big data. In the end, Google could make use of the data to control the whole world.:( I am now trying to not use google service.

13. gustavoace

Posts: 187; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Really? Control the whole world? If NSA doesn't put hands on data, I think google and others use your info for statistics and to improve their services.... Or you truly believe that your life is in any way interesting to google? That they have people looking for only for your moves... This is not James Bond You can always opt-out

15. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

:-)) The biggest fault of android is Google, well said. Remember Google is Skynet. Saying that Google or Nsa or Apple or anyone who has your life recorded in details, is not intrsted in you is so stupid. It's not if they are intrested in you now but when they will acquire that interest. If you are a reporter or a polititian or an important person for x resons they could target you easily. Eg, the name Snowden does it ring any bells? They even accused him as a rapist for cryin outloud!

16. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Already using this feature in MIUI for over a year.. and it's very useful as per my requirements...

20. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

TERMINATOR 3 RISE OF THE MACHINES. LOL

23. kgbme

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

"You can always opt-out", after everything you have had already been synced without permission, or ask.

14. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1777; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Your life is not that interesting. Google mainly just wants to target appropriate ads for you.

24. kgbme

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

And record and archive anything and everything ever entered on a phone; build a database of how different demographics communicate and what the interpersonal relationships are like. We, probably, couldn't everything guess the million ways they're going to use it for - starting with tracking and identifying targets in case of war.

2. donrox

Posts: 203; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

A step in the right direction!

3. Saioofi

Posts: 344; Member since: May 23, 2014

"iOS is years behind android"

7. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

It is... Just not for a couple of features like this one... But for most of the OS it is

4. surethom

Posts: 1718; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

What if you choose No to one of the permissions, does it stop u using that app?

5. sss_ddk

Posts: 76; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

Guess it will depend on the developer

21. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

AFAIK it won't really stop the app, instead it will fool the app by giving it null info like it will give it empty list for contacts , black image for camera and so on.

22. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

I don't see an internet connecting permission and in case there isn't then a firewall would be great for controlling apps getting through the Internet . Remember to support developers by letting them send ads to you and not disabling such apps from internet

25. kgbme

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

OF COURSE that a rule-based firewall on Android is BADLY needed.

8. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Pity, I don't see the "run in the background" permission. That's the one I am most interested in.

11. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

There's an option in the latest developer preview called "inactive apps" where you can toggle apps that run in the background. It's found under developer options menu.

17. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I´ll give a look into it.

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Run in the background or Auto-start? I hate that certain apps automatically start when I reboot my phone (luckily I have a rooted phone and Privacy guard)

18. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Run in the background, I also don´t like when I start an app and it keeps running in the background even if I don´t want it to. I use greenify to to freeze them, I´m also rooted. But if I had the option then I would not need root.

26. kgbme

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

Yes, "All Permissions" will display that an app can load on startup, but no way to control it without rooting the phone and advanced Android operating system knowledge. The most important, crucial, things are (purposely?) kept out of our reach. :-/

9. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Looks like windows 10 mobile ability.

27. kgbme

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

=0 ability

19. Awaragardiyan unregistered

did that on xiaomi's miui an year ago

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