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I am again and again noticing that a ton of apps ask for ridiculous permissions, and I'm getting frustrated by searching for apps that don't ask me for too much - and frankly, I would download 3 times as much apps if they would ask for reasonable permissions. The one that I personally don't like to share is my phone id and your accounts, but there are various apps asking for permissions they don't need. Some examples:

  • A game that needs to load itself after boot.
  • A game that needs my accounts.
  • A game that needs my phone calls.
  • A browser that needs my phone calls and accounts.

Why are these permissions requests there? Are most of them doing some data collecting? Are the developers too lazy to check what permissions they really need?

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You could use something like App Ops, or the Cyanogenmod Privacy Guard to block certain permissions. –  p1xel Dec 20 '13 at 23:54
    
Not covering games that much, but listing apps by real-life categories: Android.IzzySoft.DE groups apps for specific tasks and lists ratings, number of permissions requested, plus some additional information along, which should make a pre-selection easier. Admittedly, the lists cover only about 1% of what's on Google Play – but hand-picked avoids a lot of trash :) Disclosure: I'm the one who built, runs, and maintains that site. Oh, and don't mind the ".DE": it "speaks" English as well (switches automatically based on your browser preferences). –  Izzy Jun 9 at 12:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are a few points to note on this. Not all of them will help you on your issue, but at least explain things or point you to helpful information:

  • some devs explain in their apps' descriptions what they need those permissions for, others do so at least on the corresponding web sites (e.g. in the FAQ). If they missed that, contact them and ask to have that gap filled.
  • phone id + internet is required by most ad modules. To avoid that, check for payed versions. Android apps are not really expensive, and of course devs like to be compensated for their work. The average price of 1 buck should be worth it.
  • no real issue with the accounts stuff. For explanations, please take a look at
  • I agree that a game rarely has a good reason to access your contacts, calendar, call lists, browser history, and bookmarks. My guess in those cases is, that in ~80% the dev simply made a "bad decision" concerning the ad module chosen (there are some really bordering spyware). Again, contact the dev and ask. According to a study I read a while ago, about 60% of the devs are not even aware of that issue; being approached, they were open for alternatives (unfortunately I don't remember the source currently).
  • I also agree concerning phone calls, and even SMS. They might be used for in-app purchases, but I don't think this is a good practice.

Further good sources can be found in our permissions tag-wiki.

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