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The privacy and security features of Android 11 that you should know

If you are lucky Enough to be in the first group of recipients, your phone may already be running Android 11. If not, it will be available on your handset in the coming weeks and months.

As with most major Android updates, security and privacy features get a lot of attention, and there are now more built-in tools and options than ever to keep you and your smartphone safe from snoops and data thieves. Let’s look at them.

One-time authorizations

You are probably familiar with granting apps permissions to parts of your phone like the microphone and camera. However, there is a new setting to keep in mind with Android 1

1: A one-time permission that allows an app to use your camera (or microphone or location), but it has to be asked again next time if it wants access.

It’s perfect for apps that you don’t fully trust or that you don’t use very often. It’s less suitable for apps that you always use (approving Instagram’s access to the camera every time you want to take a snapshot can quickly become a chore). .

The new option is displayed in the main permissions (camera, microphone, location) when apps need it. So choose them wisely. Android 11 has another new and related feature that is less obvious: if you don’t use an app for a few months, it will reset all previous permissions and need to be requested again.

Permissions are reset for apps that you don’t use.

Screenshot: David Nield


Not very exciting from an end-user perspective, but important for Android 11 security behind the scenes. Scoped storage means apps have access to their own data silos and are not necessarily allowed to access silos from other apps. In theory, this should make your sensitive information more secure.

It’s a somewhat controversial change: apps may want to pull data from other apps or services for a variety of reasons, such as: B. from an image editing app that accesses your photo gallery. Scoped storage doesn’t make this impossible, but developers need to jump through more frames and stick to Android’s rules to make it happen.

In terms of what you see while running Android 11, it shouldn’t make much of a difference: your device will automatically become more secure as apps are more restricted. When apps make permission requests for storage folders on your device, just double-check what they’re asking for before allowing or blocking them.

Background site access

There’s another feature worth mentioning in Android 11 that is background location access: apps that can track your location in the background. The first time an app asks permission to track its location, the option to always enable this (even when the app is not running) is not available: you need to visit the app’s specific page in Android settings. The extra steps should, in theory, make us all think twice about granting background location access to an app instead of just automatically typing to give permission out of habit.

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