When you are no longer actively using an app, it’s best to revoke any sensitive permission you may have granted it. Thankfully, on your Android phone or tablet, you don’t have to manually go on about doing that.
Introduced in Android 11, the permission feature offers a handy option that automatically revokes permissions from an app you haven’t opened in a while. This setting can’t be applied globally throughout the OS, which means you will have to enable it separately for each app. We would recommend switching it on, especially for apps from developers you don’t trust. Here’s how to access it.
Before we begin, note that every Android manufacturer tweaks the name of various menus and settings. The following steps and screenshots will cover the process on a Samsung phone. Although the names might be different, the process will be very similar.
Open the “Settings” app on your Android smartphone or tablet. You can find it either in the app drawer or by tapping the gear icon in the notification panel.
Select “Apps and Notifications.”
Inside, tap the “See All Apps” option.
Locate the app whose permissions you’d like to have automatically revoked after a few months for non-use. Tap the “Permissions” option.
Toggle the “Remove Permissions If App Isn’t Used” setting found at the bottom of the page.
Now, if you don’t use this app for a few months, your phone or tablet will cut off its link to all the data modules and sensors it’s allowed to access. If you pick, WhatsApp, it will lose permissions to access the camera, microphone, local storage, and more.
The set of permissions this setting applies to will vary based on the app. Further, it’s worth noting it’s only available in a restricted form for system-level apps. Therefore, for instance, you can’t instruct Android to automatically revoke Gmail’s access to your phone’s contacts and calendar.
Google doesn’t specify when Android will automatically revoke app permissions between uses. But down the road, when and if this setting is triggered for any app, Android will notify you and also offer an option to uninstall the app.
Want better control over your smartphone privacy? There’s more you can do to better manage permissions on Android and how much of your data each app can read.