The latest Android OS, Android 11, was released last year on September 8, and it just might be the best mobile OS released by Google. Why? Well, there are several new features that deal with pre-existing privacy issues and more. At first glance, it might not look any different than the previous Android 10, but if you dig deeper, you will find dozens of amazing features.
For your convenience, we have rounded up some of the essential Android 11 privacy features that you should know about.
One-time app permissions
App permissions have always been tricky for Android OS. This time around, the developers have done their level best to ensure maximum security. Now, Android users can grant app permissions on a “one-time or case-by-case” basis.
When the apps ask for permissions to access the camera, microphone, or location, you can grant one-time access, which will stop when the app is closed. Similarly, if you have to use the app again, you will be asked to grant access. It might seem similar, that is because this feature can also be seen in iOS 13.
Screen overlay is when apps are allowed to display content in a small window before switching apps or sites. Overlay attacks had been a serious concern for Android users in the past because they had one goal, and that was to steal credentials for any application. Overlays are used by fake sites to trick the user’s into putting their login details, ultimately affecting the device with malware.
Fortunately, with Android 11, apps cannot randomly take users to the authentication process. Instead, they will be taken to a level before the overlay screen. You can disable app permissions to the overlay to protect your data. You can also use Android VPN to protect your smartphone from malware and prevent fake sites from accessing your data.
Another amazing security feature introduced in Android 11 is blocking permissions. This new feature blocks an application form asking for permissions again and again if the user has denied access twice. If you have denied access twice, next time, you will have to go to settings to allow app permissions manually for it to work properly.
For example, if you denied access to the camera on Instagram twice, the next time you open it, it won’t ask for permission, and if you want to use its camera feature, you will have to go to settings and manually allow the app to access the phone's camera.
Background location access to apps
Another amazing security update in Android 11 is the location permission in apps. Now, there is no longer an option that allows apps with permanent access to the location. Instead, users have three options to choose from:
- Allow access to location when using the app
- Allow access to location only this time
Technically speaking, you can still allow permanent access to location, but that can only be done manually by going deep into the Settings. This is done to ensure that users don’t grant background location access to apps for security reasons. Even if you have given permanent access to an app, Google will notify you from time to time.
Another interesting update in Android 11 is scoped storage, and it is highly crucial for device security and online privacy. Scoped storage means that apps only have access to their own stored data and not data from other apps - thus keeping your smartphones secure and protected. Before Android 11, when you gave access to application storage, the app would have access to the entire internal device storage, including other apps.
With Scoped storage, Google has limited apps to have access to their share of data only. You can see, your device will be more secure and safe as apps have greater restrictions on them. However, if an app is asking for permission to access your photo gallery or more, you can read thoroughly before deciding to allow access or block it. It is excellent to ensure the robust security of Android devices.
Direct Updates from Google Play Store
Yes, you read right! Now, you will be able to get security updates and patches directly from Google Play, no matter the brand of phone you have. Android 11 has initiated a project called Project Mainline, which will basically release security updates via the Play Store. This way, you won’t have to wait for Samsung, Sony, Huawei, or any other company to release new versions of Android with security patches.
This is huge, as you won’t have to wait months to get security threats on Android fixed, as Google will make sure all the patches are available as quickly as possible to all users regardless of their phone brand.