Making permissions auto-reset available to billions more devices

Making permissions auto-reset available to billions more devices

by Admin on September-20-2021 10:54 AM

Most users spend a lot of time on their smartphones. Whether working, playing games, or connecting with friends, people often use apps as the primary gateway for their digital lives. In order to work, apps often need to request certain permissions, but with dozens of apps on any given device, it can be tough to keep up with the permissions you’ve previously granted – especially if you haven’t used an app for an extended period of time.

In Android 11, we introduced the permission auto-reset feature. This feature helps protect user privacy by automatically resetting an app’s runtime permissions – which are permissions that display a prompt to the user when requested – if the app isn’t used for a few months. Starting in December 2021, we are expanding this to billions more devices. This feature will automatically be enabled on devices with Google Play services that are running Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher.

The feature will be enabled by default for apps targeting Android 11 (API level 30) or higher. However, users can enable permission auto-reset manually for apps targeting API levels 23 to 29.

So what does this mean for developers?


Some apps and permissions are automatically exempted from revocation, like active Device Administrator apps used by enterprises, and permissions fixed by enterprise policy.

Request user to disable auto-reset

If needed, developers can ask the user to prevent the system from resetting their app's permissions. This is useful in situations where users expect the app to work primarily in the background, even without interacting with it. The main use cases are listed here.

Comparing current and new behavior

Current behaviorNew behavior
Permissions are automatically reset on Android 11 (API level 30) and higher devices.Permissions are automatically reset on the following devices:
  • Devices with Google Play services that are running a version between Android 6.0 (API level 23) and Android 10 (API level 29), inclusive.
  • All devices running Android 11 (API level 30) and higher devices.
Permissions are reset by default for apps targeting Android 11 or later. The user can manually enable auto-reset for apps targeting Android 6.0 (API level 23) or later.No change from the current behavior.
Apps can request the user to disable auto-reset for the app.No change from the current behavior.

Necessary code changes

If an app targets at least API 30, and asks the user to disable permission auto-reset, then developers will need to make a few simple code changes. If the app does not disable auto-reset, then no code changes are required.

Note: this API is only intended for apps whose targetSDK is API 30 or higher, because permission auto-reset only applies to these apps by default. Developers don’t need to change anything if the app‘s targetSDK is API 29 or lower.

The table below summarizes the new, cross-platform API (compared to the API published in Android 11):

ActionAndroid 11 API
(works only on Android 11 and later devices)
New, cross-platform API
(works on Android 6.0 and later devices, including Android 11 and later devices)
Check if permission auto-reset is enabled on the deviceCheck if Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= Build.VERSION_CODES.RCall androidx.core.content.PackageManagerCompat.getUnusedAppRestrictionsStatus()
Check if auto-reset is disabled for your appCall PackageManager.
Call androidx.core.content.
Request that the user disable auto-reset for your appSend an intent with action
Send an intent created with androidx.core.content.

This cross-platform API is part of the Jetpack Core library, and will be available in Jetpack Core v1.7.0. This API is now available in beta.

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