Play Store: Google hides app permissions – and announces withdrawal

Google has replaced the list of app permissions in the Play Store with a data security descriptor. After protests, there should be both in the future.

Google’s Play Store has recently stopped showing the permissions that an Android app requests. Instead, before the installation, you see a “Data security” section that the developer can fill out himself. The Android app and the web version of the Play Store are affected.

Many users use the permissions of an app to assess the risks and data protection before installing it: for example, if a flashlight app requests the right to send text messages or access photos, you can be suspicious. The system is not perfect, because perhaps the manufacturer is simply not that precise with data protection, without doing anything nasty. In addition, the purpose of some authorizations is not immediately apparent because the app has little-known but useful functions or because Android’s authorization management is sometimes difficult to understand: for example, the apps from headphone manufacturers need location authorization to connect their Bluetooth headphones Find. Furthermore, the permissions do not reflect all relevant information, such as GDPR compliance and what data the app collects for what purposes.

In this respect, Google’s new “Data Security” section can provide important additional information if you trust the developer to fill it out conscientiously – or at all. Although Google obliges developers to publish the rubric by 21.7. to fill, but at the time of going to press on the same date, several apps showed empty fields. However, the previous authorization check is intended to protect against developers who are not fully trusted.

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Instead of the system rights requested by the app, the Play Store now shows information from the developer on

Instead of the system rights requested by the app, the Play Store now shows information from the developer on

Instead of the system rights requested by the app, the Play Store now shows information from the developer on “data security”.

The disappearance of the permissions indicator is a reminder that earlier in the year the explanations in the Play Store of what app updates do disappeared and only read “No information from the developer”. But the texts returned after a few weeks, apparently it was a bug in the Play Store app or a temporary test by Google. Now, however, the number of affected users and regions seems to be increasing. After their complaints, however, Google backtracked and explained on Twitter that the display of rights should return.

The new display in the Play Store does not change the fact that you can grant and revoke permissions for apps on the smartphone. However, apps no longer ask for their permissions at installation, but when they need them for the first time. This applies to newer Android versions and apps that use current APIs. Therefore, it is better to look directly after installing an app (and before the first call) under Settings/Apps in its properties and there in the permissions. Modern Android versions allow some accesses to be allowed only once or each time only on request. If the accesses go too far, you can uninstall the app before using it for the first time.

An alternative is to simply bypass the Google Play Store. One place to go is the Store F-Droid, which only lists open source apps and provides very detailed information about what rights apps are claiming and why. You can also get the Aurora Store app there: It accesses Google’s Play Store via an anonymous Google account and picks out the list of requested permissions there – so the list seems to still be there. It also reveals more information about each app, for example under “Privacy Policy”, which tracker it uses – in cooperation with Exodus Privacy. It is up to you whether you install the app via this store or after checking it via the Play Store. We have summarized further tips for more data protection under Android in a separate article for you.

c’t issue 17/2022


c’t 17/22


In c’t 17/2022 we examine what artificial intelligence actually achieves today. We present apps and gadgets for the holiday and test bicycle navigation systems so that you never take detours again. Also in the test: energy cost measuring devices, with which you can track down energy guzzlers in the household, web whiteboards for digital meetings and inverters for balcony power plants. You can also find out how the James Web space telescope works in the current issue of c’t.

  • What artificial intelligence can and cannot do

  • 10 energy cost meters in comparison

  • Microinverters for balcony power plants

  • WLAN booster: rip-off from China

  • Decode QR codes by hand

  • Test: Digital whiteboards for meetings and workshops

  • Test: Navis for cyclists

  • How the James Webb Space Telescope works

  • Tips for IT freelancers: How to stay independent

  • FAQ: Video editing with Kdenlive

  • c’t 17/2022 in the Heise shop