Google cracks down on android apps

is manually reviewing apps that request access to a smartphone’s phone or texting features. The move fulfils a promise to restrict how apps can access these functions on phones.

In the announcement last October, the company explained that it would restrict which apps could ask for access to SMS data and phone functions, including call logs.

Under the new rules, only apps selected as the default text or phone app will be allowed access to that data. Google will grant exceptions, but only when an app needs to ask for those permissions for specific activities that are part of its core functionality. These include backing up and restoring user data, spam protection, synchronizing between devices or transferring calls, and task automation.

For an app to request this access at all, it must first be approved by a Google employee. To get that approval, developers must fill out a declaration form. Google’s teams will consider several factors when approving an app, including the benefit to the user, and whether users will understand why the app needs full access to this data.

They will also consider whether there are alternative ways for the app to achieve its goals. On its help page, Google lists other ways for apps to access the phone and SMS functions on a phone, but they require user intervention.

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