Google to remove apps from the Play Store that ask for SMS and Call Log permissions

Google to remove apps from the Play Store that ask for SMS and Call Log permissions
Google announced last year that it will change its policy concerning some of the apps published in the Play Store. The Mountain-View company is taking access to sensitive data and permissions very seriously, which is why it will no longer allow devs to release apps that require access to SMS or Call Log in the Google Play Store.

Today, the search giant announced that it will start removing all apps asking for SMS or Call Log permissions from the Google Play Store over the next few weeks. Developers who have not submitted a permission declaration form will have their apps removed from the Google Play Store.

If that happens, they have two choices: submit a new version without these permissions, or submit a new version that retains these permissions, but complete a special declaration form inside the Play Console. This declaration will give developers an extension until March 9 to remove the permissions or receive approval for their use case.

Google's move is meant to eliminate those cases where apps asking for SMS and Call Log permissions would enable experiences that would not require this level of access. The new policy will certainly restrict developer access to SMS and Call Log permissions and further improve users' control over their data.

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11 Comments

1. libra89

Posts: 2298; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I hope that SMS backup and restore will work still. That's such a good tool.

4. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Some stupid games ask for these permissions. This should have been stopped years ago. What the hell does a game need that data for.

2. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Bravo Google, there is no need phone number to play game or apps.

3. lyndon420

Posts: 6836; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Well hold on for a second here. There was an app I was playing around with a few years ago. It allowed me to send texts from my bro's phone without his knowledge. It was hilarious as hell...and for the most part very wrong I suppose...but still very entertaining lol. Yeah yeah I suppose....clean up the store, and all the stupid flashlight apps that need internet access (there are idiots in every camp... special needs require special actions).

10. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

This has affected Cerberus and pissed a lot of people off. Anyway the sideloaded updated app works fine.

13. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

That's way too short-sighted on Google's and your end. Yeah, games don't need access, but there are plenty of apps that can and do have great functionality because of this permission.

5. LiveFaith

Posts: 487; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

My phone call recording app sent out a notified that they are screwed here. They are moving to the Samsung app store and Amazon iirc. I undid auto updates for my app so hopefully I'll be able to retain caller ID info etc. New app will not be as robust.

8. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I am glad Tasker will keep this functionality and won't be removed from the Play store.

11. LBLBLB

Posts: 21; Member since: Oct 19, 2017

It's only one app. For many other apps, even though it makes perfect sense for them to still have these permissions, they got restricted too much. On Google's issue tracker, there are now 828 people that starred a request (here: issuetracker.google.com/issues/117486314 ) to avoid this huge restriction on apps.

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Have you read the Issue tracker? Since a load of them are about..... Tasker! But not only Tasker is getting exempted, other automation tools as well. There are tools like SMS backup and call recorders who are getting screwed over by this, which is a shame (I have used ACR pro in the past). Hopefully, Google will learn the difference between apps that are actually quite useful and need permission compared to games who absolutely don't need access to call/SMS functionality. So I do agree Google went overboard with this

9. f4bles

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 15, 2018

Lool Facebook is in trouble

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