Google has announced new changes to its Developer Program Policy which will make it more difficult for apps to see the other apps installed on an Android device.
As part of the tech giant’s continuing efforts ‘to restrict the use of high risk or sensitive permissions’, Google said it’ll limit the use of QUERY-ALL-PACKAGES permission which gives apps the ‘visibility into the inventory of installed apps on a given device.’
The changes will apply to apps that target API 30+ on devices that run Android 11 and later.
”Play regards the device inventory of installed apps queried from a user’s device as personal and sensitive information, and use of the permission is only permitted when your app’s core user facing functionality or purpose, requires broad visibility into installed apps on the user’s device.” (Source: Play Console Help)
The company said that if an app doesn’t meet the requirements to use QUERY-ALL-PACKAGES, the permission must be removed to comply with Google Play Policy.
However, if an app meets the criteria, the developer will be required to fill out a Declaration Form in Play Console and ‘sufficiently justify why a less intrusive method of app visibility will not sufficiently enable your app’s policy compliant user facing core functionality.’
Meanwhile, apps that don’t meet the requirements or don’t sign the Declaration Form could be removed from the Play Store, the company said. If there’s any change on how your app uses the permission, you’ll be required to re-submit your declaration with the most up-to-date information.
The changes to the use of QUERY-ALL-PACKAGES will take place starting May 5, 2021.