More and more Android apps (games to be specific) require permissions to make calls. Some of them also require permission to send SMS, read bookmarks, history, etc. What is the explanation for this? I mean, why would a game need to have those permissions?

If it is some software which provides anti-theft support or a voice/video app or something I understand, but games? Is there some logic which I am missing or are the game developers asking too much?

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    You might have to just ask the developer(s) about this one, to be honest. I personally wouldn't install a game that needed permission to make a call. Dec 14, 2011 at 21:36
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    Do you have an example? Dec 14, 2011 at 21:51
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    Also note, if it says something like: Reads Phone State, that is usually just for ads
    – Bryan Denny
    Dec 15, 2011 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


Generally they don't. Most games don't need SMS or Phone Call permissions, and you should be suspect for any game that does.

I'm assuming this is not the same as "Read Phone State & Identity" which this question answers.

  • Hi All, Thanks for responses -- one example is very good app "Super Vault - hide pictures" - asking permission under "Services that cost you money" - I understand that they asking for it but how safe they are with you giving allthe permissions? I love android but problem is who is guarding the apps in the market?
    – user769889
    Feb 3, 2012 at 10:27
  • Once you give permission, the only way to revoke it is to uninstall the application. (CyanogenMod may or may not have a way to block a permission per-application, but I don't remember if that made it in or not.)
    – Broam
    Feb 3, 2012 at 13:35

One solution if you have a rooted phone is to install LBE Privacy Guard. It scans your apps for permissions that can be risky, and lets you block them on a per app basis. You can prevent apps from:

  • Making calls/SMS
  • Identifying your phone via IMEI
  • Connecting to the Internet.
  • Accessing call logs, contacts, SMS inbox.

The reason for this is PSMS. If you wanted to make a purchase inside of the game or app this is what happens:

  • You confirm you want to make a purchase for XX amount of money

  • The app acceses your sms to send a message to the server to bill you (instead of the old fashioned "Text THIS to ####")

  • The provider then sends a free message onto your device that tells the app that they have been able to bill you (through that previous sms)

So no app is going to go through your messages or personal information, they just need this for billing. And this only happens after you click on accept to purchase something.

Maybe we need to start educiating ourselves before pointing fingers at developers.

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