How to control in detail everything apps can do on a Samsung Galaxy (and what they can’t)

We install many applications on our phones, perhaps too many. It’s interesting and even fun to try a new app or game, but sometimes we are not too cautious with what that app can do, or what it asks us to do. Sometimes an app to do something completely simple like download wallpapers, for some reason it asks for access to our location. And in an oversight, we granted it to them.

Fortunately, Android has ways to combat these types of actions and protect user privacy, and in the case of One UI, Samsung’s custom layer, there are tools in the system that allow control in detail what each of the apps we install can do on mobile. If you want to have greater control over what an app can do, and what you don’t want it to do, it’s very simple: you just have to follow the steps below, and you don’t need to install anything at all.

Don’t let apps access your location or your camera if you don’t want it

It is understandable that an app like WhatsApp or Telegram asks us for permission to access the camera or notifications, after all, sometimes we take photos directly from the app to in

First of all, the essential thing: we must be a little cautious with the applications we install. But after clarifying this, there are two ways to control access to what an app can do on a Samsung Galaxy mobile.

Permissions 1

The first is from the so-called Permissions Manager, a menu section that Groups by category all the apps that access some function: for example, all those that can access the location, so that we can clean up those that we do not want to grant any permission to.

  • Access the mobile settings menu, then press on Ssecurity and privacy
  • Scroll until you find the option Permissions manager
Permissions 2

Next, we will see all the available categories: camera, contacts, location, physical activity, photos and videos (the gallery), notifications, phone and more. This screen tells us how many apps have access to each category. If we click on one of them, for example, camera or location, we will know What are the apps that have that permission? granted permanently and only during use.

Permissions 3

It is best to allow apps to have these permissions “only during use”, but some apps or important system functions (in many cases native mobile apps) require permanent permission. In this section We can click on an app and remove the permission, or configure the app to always ask if we wish to grant you access.

Setting app permissions, one by one

The other way to control app permissions on Samsung Galaxy devices is not by category, like the previous method, but by application. If what we want is know what permissions a specific app hasand revoke or modify them, we only have to follow these steps:

Permissions 4

  • Access the system settings menu, and then the section Applications
  • Find the application we want to check its permissions
  • Once we select it, click on Permissions
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In the previous image we can see that WhatsApp, as we mentioned a few lines ago, has many permissions granted, the application requires it to function correctly. The menu even shows us When was the last time the selected app used one of these permissions (for example, when was the last time you accessed the camera or gallery).

If we click on any of these permissions, we can configure it specifically by choosing between: allow only with the app in use, always ask or do not allow, this last option eliminates access, of course. We can also click on “See all apps that have this permission”, which directs us to the panel of the previous method.

Permissions 5

On the permissions screen of each application there is an option called “Pause activity in the app if not using it”, which we recommend activating, although it is usually active by default. What this option does is that if you spend too much time without using an application, It will deactivate all permissions until you use it againas a security measure.

Permissions 6

In general, if we are suspicious of what a specific app is doing, and we do not want to uninstall it, these methods allow us to check everything the application can do, what parts of the mobile and our data it can access, and eliminate this access if we wish. A regular game, for example, should not have access to the camera, phone or contact book.

Cover photo | Alejandro Alcolea for Xataka

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