Android 12 Privacy Dashboard is a permission tool at a glance


Android 12 has a new privacy dashboard that makes it easier for users to check and manage permissions on their devices. Jack Wallen gives you a glimpse of this new tool.

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Image via ZDNet

Android 12 is poised to be one of the most significant upgrades to Google’s mobile platform ever. Not only will it completely redefine Android UI/UX with Materials (and that’s really cool), the upcoming iteration of the OS brings some long overdue features to the table.

One such feature puts app and device permissions into a single, easy-to-use dashboard, allowing users to not only have better control over permissions, but have a much easier time managing those permissions.

The feature is called Privacy Dashboard, and it’s something every Android user should be concerned about.

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What can you do with Privacy Dashboard?

As you probably believe, the Privacy Dashboard is all about privacy—that means it’s about permissions. When you open the Privacy Dashboard, you can see at a glance which services or hardware have been accessed the most in the last 24 hours (Figure a)

Figure A

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Mic, camera and location services have been used in the last 24 hours.

The big question is “What do you do with this information?” Consider this: You open the privacy dashboard to see the mic and camera has been used in the last 24 hours, only that you haven’t used any apps that require those two permissions. You could have found yourself in a compromising situation and should take immediate action, as some malicious action can happen.

It’s not meant to drive you crazy, it’s to empower you. If you see that the camera has been used in the last 24 hours, tap the camera listing and it will show you which app has used the service (Figure B)

Figure B

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Luckily, in this case, the camera used camera service, so everything is on the up and up.

If you find that another app uses the camera service (that you’ve used in the last 24 hours), tap Manage permissions and then you can revoke permissions for the app that used the service , do you find it necessary (Figure C)

Figure C

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List of all permissions associated with the camera on Android 12.

One thing you should be careful with is to clear permissions for a service or sensor. Disable the wrong permission and you could be breaching an app or service. When you suspect something is wrong, your best bet is to do the following (which only applies to Android 12):

  1. Pull down the notification shade twice.
  2. Tap to disable Mic and Camera access, as well as Location.
  3. Go back to the Privacy Dashboard.
  4. Find out which apps have accessed those devices and sensors.
  5. Do a quick google search to see if those apps should have access to the services/sensors.
  6. If not, remove the permissions from the app. If so, don’t do anything.

If you find that the app in question is legitimate, you can go back to the Quick Access tiles and re-enable Mic, Camera, and Location.

And so is the Privacy Dashboard to help you stay on top of permissions on your Android device. The thing is, it’s an important step for Android security, but it’s up to users to try to regularly check what’s happening on their devices.

Developers have come a long way to make everything automated, but no platform on its own is 100% effective at preventing malicious behavior. Once you have Android 12 on your device, be sure to check out the Privacy Dashboard regularly. Think of it this way: If you’re just watching it because you think something’s wrong, it may be too late.

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