Control what data third-party apps can access on your Android phone or Android tablet with app permissions. Here's how to use app permissions in Android Marshmallow. Also see: When will my phone get Android Marshmallow?
Apps require various permissions to do their thing on your phone or tablet, but sometimes their requirement of a random permission can ring alarm bells. For example, we can think of no reason why a photo-editing app might need to access your SMS messages, or a calendar app would need to access your camera.
Sometimes these apps have valid reasons for requesting these permissions, which will usually be detailed within their Google Play listing, but it does pay to keep your wits about you - especially when installing third-party apps from outside the security of the Google Play Store. Also see: How to uninstall apps from Android Marshmallow.
In earlier versions of Android to Marshmallow you would be notified of and prompted to grant access to these requirements upon installing the app, and should any update require updated permissions. Apps were otherwise left to do their thing, and you probably put app security to the back of your mind.
In Marshmallow Android builds in app permissions, letting you control what an app is able to access on your phone or tablet even after you've installed it. This means you get to choose whether that photo-editing app can access your SMS messages, or the calendar app can access your camera, at the point at which it requires it and only at that point.
App permissions are very easy to access and manage in Android Marshmallow. Here's a quick walkthrough. Also see: How to create a lock-screen message in Android Marshmallow.
How to use app permissions in Android Marshmallow
Step 1. To access app permissions on your Android M phone or tablet open your phone's Settings menu (look for an icon on the home screen, in the drop-down notification bar or in the app tray), then choose Apps. Also see: How to use Now On Tap in Android Marshmallow.
Step 2. Select the gear icon at the top right of the Apps menu. In the next screen choose App permissions.
Step 3. You'll find permissions are grouped into type, for example Body Sensors, Calendar, Camera, Contacts, Location, Microphone, SMS and Storage. Select any of these permission types to see which apps installed on your phone have access to that data.
Step 4. If anything in this list seems unusual to you, or you'd rather not grant that permission to that app, simply slide the toggle to disable the permission for that app. You can always change the setting later if needs be.
Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.