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#233396 14-Apr-2018 14:44
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I have one Android device and I cannot but help notice a couple of things about the way apps on Android devices are handled.

 

I struggle with some of the permissions some apps require. For example the recent up date to the Word and Excel apps require access to Device ID and call information.

 

I can understand some apps needing access to some things like location on a mapping app for example. I cannot see why Word or Excel would ever need access to my device ID or more especially my call information.

 

As these requests only ever seem to apply to apps from Google Play Store I have to wonder it is Google that is placing these app requests. Why?

 

We all know Google farms our data. With the recent appearance of Mark Zuckerberg in front of a senate committee on Facebook's intrusion into users data you have to wonder that Google might be worth similar scrutiny. The way I see it it's abit like Volkswagen being caught out with manipulating diesel engine emissions. Pretty much every manufacturer was up to something, they were lucky they weren't caught.

 

My other beef is with the way Google inserts ads into the apps, even apps that are provided freely by the app creator. Apps that are free without ads on other platforms. 

 

I have no problem with the app creator allowing adds as a way to pay for their app if people choose not to buy the paid version but some of the ads are down right intrusive with no way to remove them. Once again different from other platforms that don't intrude with adverts.

 

I know those that have grown up with Android don't know any different and likely just accept the ads but for someone coming from other platforms it is feels intrusive.





Sony Xperia X running Sailfish OS. https://sailfishos.org The true independent open source mobile OS 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Nokia N1
Dell Inspiron 14z i5


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647 posts

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  #1996428 15-Apr-2018 12:28
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> I cannot see why Word or Excel would ever need access to my device ID or more especially my call information.

There may be legitimate reasons, but you're right - you shouldn't have to give up that information - so don't. Boycott apps which abuse permissions, and make sure to let the developer know it's not right.

> My other beef is with the way Google inserts ads into the apps

Google doesn't insert ads, the app makers do - that's how they make money.

> even apps that are provided freely by the app creator. Apps that are free without ads on other platforms.

Again, this is a developers conscious decision. You can have a perfectly free app free of ads. Google doesn't force a developer to insert ads, they do it out of their own free will.

> with no way to remove them

That's not true - this is why adblockers exist, like AdGuard, NetGuard, Blockada to name a few. You don't even need to root your device to use these. You're also free to use paid versions of apps/services which do not serve any ads, if you want to support the developer.

> Once again different from other platforms that don't intrude with adverts

Once again, this has nothing to do with Google but with developers deliberately adding them to their apps.

> I know those that have grown up with Android don't know any different and likely just accept the ads but for someone coming from other platforms it is feels intrusive.

That is the nature of an open, widely popular platform - Android is like the wild wild west, you have freedom but with that you also have risks. Would you rather have a walled garden where your choices are dictated by manufacturers who decide and control how you should use a device you own, a device that you bought using your hard earned money? If that's what you're after then there is such a platform, and you're more than welcome to switch to it.


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  #1996439 15-Apr-2018 12:53

Device ID and call information might be to trigger an autosave if a phone call comes in. As on Android, if you open another app on top of the app you are currently using, the previous app is paused, but kept in RAM. But if your phone is running low on available RAM, your device will simply delete them from ram. Which in the case of Word and Excel, would mean that you would loose any unsaved data.

A far more annoying problem is device makers loading too many apps from the factory, and then installing them in the system partition. So you can't delete them unless you get root access on your phone. (yes Samsung I'm looking at you) I presume that device makers get paid for doing so.





 
 
 
 




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  #1996447 15-Apr-2018 13:45
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d3Xt3r: > 

That is the nature of an open, widely popular platform - Android is like the wild wild west, you have freedom but with that you also have risks. Would you rather have a walled garden where your choices are dictated by manufacturers who decide and control how you should use a device you own, a device that you bought using your hard earned money? If that's what you're after then there is such a platform, and you're more than welcome to switch to it. If you can't fend for yourself or think critically and still want to complain, then Android was never meant for you in the first place.

 

I have come to Android from Symbian and more latterly Meego. I also run Sailfish on one device. None of these I would call a "walled garden" OS. They all have App Stores and apps that have no annoying adverts. It is possible to install apps from other sources. There is all the freedom of Android without the intrusion of Google ads and doubtful app permissions. Ads are not necessarily the nature of an open platform.

 

I'm quite capable of fending and thinking for myself thank you. 





Sony Xperia X running Sailfish OS. https://sailfishos.org The true independent open source mobile OS 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Nokia N1
Dell Inspiron 14z i5


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  #1996479 15-Apr-2018 15:11
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If you not happy with omissions go into settings and deny those permissions.

 

While I can't delete facebook app I can disable it from os settings.

 

 




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  #1996509 15-Apr-2018 15:58
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afe66:

 

If you not happy with omissions go into settings and deny those permissions.

 

While I can't delete facebook app I can disable it from os settings.

 

 

 

 

Unless I'm looking in the wrong place I can't see anywhere to disable them. I can see the permissions by going to Settings > Apps > Then select the app. There's nowhere to turn them off. A long press on the individual permission opens up a window describing what the permission does but not toggle to turn it off.

 

Am I missing something?





Sony Xperia X running Sailfish OS. https://sailfishos.org The true independent open source mobile OS 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Nokia N1
Dell Inspiron 14z i5


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  #1996526 15-Apr-2018 16:22
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Long press for me gives lust of the permissions that app has and a toggle switch for each permission on the right with option to deny that permission.

 

If I ask to deny a query box appears telling me this might stop the app from working.

 

HTC 10 running Android 8.0

 

 

 

Regarding excessive permission / invasive privacy it's not a Google Android thing. Most companies do this.

 

LG TV phoning to a server in Europe and a privacy toggle which didn't do anything.

 

Microsoft's default privacy settings in w10 etc


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  #1996578 15-Apr-2018 18:52
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From memory, you can't control permissions prior to Android 7.0.

 

 

 

To reiterate the above; Google don't force anything. This include the advertising, which the developer uses to generate money, and it's entirely up to them whether or not to include advertising and whether or not to offer a paid version without advertising. Entirely up to the developers and nothing to do with Google at all.

 

You may find apps acquired from somewhere other than the Google Play Store have possibly been hacked and advertising removed, but possibly other dodgy coding added. There is also adblocking, which can be baked into the OS or added via an app.





Keep calm, and carry on posting.

 

 

 

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  #1996754 16-Apr-2018 09:00
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For some info in plain english on what a lot of those permissions do have a look at https://www.androidcentral.com/look-application-permissions

 

Many apps require access to your Device ID so they can have a unique indentifier. This is very handy for storing settings and other data in the cloud and linking them back to your phone and only your phone. It's a way of uniquely identifying you without giving away any of your data (in the past your email address or a username may have been used as a unique identifier, but when you think of it this isn't very good as it's leaking your private data).

 

@Aredwood has covered why many apps need access to your phone status, so they can do something (pause a game, save unsaved work, etc) when a phone call comes in.


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  #1996927 16-Apr-2018 11:36
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MurrayM:

 

Many apps require access to your Device ID so they can have a unique indentifier. This is very handy for storing settings and other data in the cloud and linking them back to your phone and only your phone. It's a way of uniquely identifying you without giving away any of your data (in the past your email address or a username may have been used as a unique identifier, but when you think of it this isn't very good as it's leaking your private data).

 

 

It's nonsensical to suggest that your phone unique ID will identify you without giving away your data. Anyone wishing to collect your data would just need the unique ID from your phone, and could then collect all your data from the cloud.

 

I know you wanted the program done in C#, but I've done it in Java as a proof of concept, just because I had a convenient Java STL library. There's actually very little work done and trivial complexity, so it would be easy for an experienced C# programmer to translate.

 

 


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  #1996948 16-Apr-2018 12:06
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Technofreak:

 

I have come to Android from Symbian and more latterly Meego. I also run Sailfish on one device. None of these I would call a "walled garden" OS. They all have App Stores and apps that have no annoying adverts. It is possible to install apps from other sources. There is all the freedom of Android without the intrusion of Google ads and doubtful app permissions. Ads are not necessarily the nature of an open platform.

 

 

The difference is that Meego and Sailfish are fully open source OSes. The version of Android that you find on most off-the-shelf devices is NOT open-source. The difference is that these Android builds are based on the open-source android (AOSP) but then they add closed vendor blobs, manufacturer customisations, carrier customisations etc. If you don't like idea of this (neither do I, btw) then you also have an option to load a fully open-source version of Android (AOSP) yourself (assuming that the device has an unlockable bootloader and that the manufacturer has made the kernel source codes available). I personally only run LineageOS which is a popular distro based on AOSP and it doesn't include any proprietary Google components/services.

 

But none of this has anything to do with ads - it's up to the developer to add adverts to the app. Running an AOSP version of Android doesn't grant you immunity to ads or rogue apps seeking dangerous permissions. But you're free to install an ad-free app or low-permission app  - no one's forcing you to install these rubbish apps.

 

> It is possible to install apps from other sources.

 

You can do that in Android as well. Settings -> Security -> Unknown Sources

 

Once enabled, not only can you download and install individual apk files from the web, you can also install fully-open source app stores such as F-Droid, which I think you'll like - F-Droid only contains FOSS apps, and it also clearly labels apps which include ads or promotes non-free services.


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  #1997893 17-Apr-2018 15:10
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Technofreak:

 

Unless I'm looking in the wrong place I can't see anywhere to disable them. I can see the permissions by going to Settings > Apps > Then select the app. There's nowhere to turn them off. A long press on the individual permission opens up a window describing what the permission does but not toggle to turn it off.

 

Am I missing something?

 

 

Which version of Android are you running?


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  #1998353 18-Apr-2018 10:24
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The solution is quite simple.

 

Apps that have ads in them : uninstall or put up with it. Or pay the $10 for the ad free version
Apps that take too many permissions : uninstall or put up with it.

When you install apps from Google play store, its stated right there if ads are part of the app & what permissions are needed
The app developers : its their job. They need to make a living. Hence ads on 'free' apps

 

Its often quite hard to find top quality 'free' Android apps that dont have ads or dont take too many permissions .
Just the way it is. Most things arnt really free .
Even some Windows apps are heading the same way .

 

:-)


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