Google will restrict apps from accessing the entire app list on phones

According to arstechnica, Google has updated its policy, saying that software engineers must have a compelling reason for Google to allow them access to other apps on users’ smartphones.

Apps that request the “Query All Packages” permission on Android 11 will currently see the entire list of apps you have installed on your smartphone.

Google’s Developer Program Policy has been modified to restrict which apps are allowed to use the access.

Financial apps, such as banking apps and peer-to-peer wallets, are excluded, according to the page, since they “may obtain broad visibility into installed apps solely for security-based purposes.”

If your app meets the policy criteria for acceptable use of the “Query All Packages” permission, you’ll need to declare it, along with any other high-risk permissions, in Play Console’s declaration form.

“Apps that fail to meet policy requirements or do not submit a Declaration Form may be removed from Google Play. Important: If you change how your app uses these restricted permissions, you must revise your declaration with updated and accurate information,” Google said.

Instead of pulling the entire app list, Google allows developers to use app-discovery APIs for applications that need to interact with other apps.

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