Recently I spoke at DevFest South Africa 2019 about the new privacy features that have been added as part of Android 10, formerly called Android Q. Over the years Android has seen exponential growth and with that growth a vast number of functionality has been added to the Android ecosystem. There has however been one thing lacking – allowing the user more control over their privacy. Apart from the usual UI updates and the new Dark Mode, Google has taken a deliberate stance with providing users the control they have so desperately needed.
In this session, I discussed the top privacy changes that are part of Android 10 and why these changes are important to both Android users and developers. I touched on the following changes and how developers can adapt to them:
Access to external storage – Android 10 has updated the way in which apps now have access to external storage. Creating a mechanism that ensures apps only have access to what they need through what is defined as scoped access.
Background device location – Users never really had control over how apps had access to their location. Once location access was granted apps would essentially have this access even when the app itself was not in the foreground. Access to the device location has been updated to focus on the user being in control of when an app should have access to the location.
Background starting of activities – in an effort to keep the user’s experience uninterrupted, Android 10 introduces changes to ensure that the user has more control over what is displayed to them on screen.
MAC address, network state – changes have been made in Android 10 where access to certain fields or properties has become restricted in the interest of privacy for the user.
Wi-Fi – Restrictions have been introduced about what can be accessed or what action can be performed when it comes to connectivity.
Permissions – before Android 10, the permission structure was one of two – allow always or don’t allow. The changes introduced allow the user to have more control about when such a permission can be granted.