Google recently announced a series of policy updates for apps to be distributed through the Play Store as part of ongoing work to restrict high-risk / sensitive permissions, which include apps that can use QUERY _ ALL _ PACKAGES permission, which “gives visibility into the inventory of installed apps on a given device”. Some applications will be exempt from the new policy, meaning they can continue to use permission. These apps include Device Search, Antivirus, File Manager and Browser. However, the new policy applies to apps that target API 30 + on devices running Android 11 and newer.
Google also announced that temporary exemptions will be granted for specialized banking apps and digital wallets, so that they “obtain broad visibility into installed apps solely for security-based purposes.” While enforcement should be done earlier, COVID-19 delayed the plans. However, this policy, which restricts access to the list of installed Android apps, will take effect on May 5, 2021.
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