Google Play is the default store on most Android devices. Most Android users use the store to download new apps and games, and to update them.
Until now, Google Play showed the permissions an app needed to work. All apps have access to a basic set of permissions that aren’t highlighted, but anything beyond that needs to be specified in the app manifest.
When browsing apps or games on Google Play now, you may notice that the list of permissions is no longer available. It seems that Google has decided that the new data security list is sufficient in this regard.
Publishers are required to provide data security information because Google has made it mandatory. It’s up to the editor to fill in the information though. Neither the Google Play app nor the Google Play store website listing permissions are no longer available.
Google hasn’t revealed why it decided to remove the option to show app and game permissions on its Android store. It’s possible that Google thought the new data security list is enough, or the permissions might scare off users.
There are still options to view permissions.
How to View Google Play Store Permissions
Android users have some options to view app permissions. One option would be to parse an app’s manifest file before installation, but that’s time consuming and not really practical.
A better option, highlighted by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter, is to use the open-source application Aurora Store. Aurora Store is available on F-Droid, a free and privacy-focused Android marketplace.
Aurora Store is an interface for Google Play, which means it pulls data directly from the Google Store. Unlike Google Play, it provides users with important information, including permissions requested by apps. The app also lists trackers included in apps and games, which is another useful piece of information.
Clicking on an app’s permissions list in Aurora Store displays all requested permissions. Note that Aurora Store does not yet display data security information in the interface.
With Aurora Store installed on the Android device, you can use it to find permissions for an app or game. Whether you install it from Google Play or through Aurora Store is up to you.
Removing permissions from Google Play is a step in the wrong direction. Google always focuses on limiting information and functionality to create a smooth but limited experience for its users. Users who need more information or options should again look elsewhere for them.
Now you: What do you think about removing permissions on Google Play?