I want to keep my contacts list, call log, photos etc private. Xprivacy/Xposed looked like a viable path, but as of today (June 2017) it seems to be dead-ended and there is no sign of a Nougat release anytime soon. Thus, afaik, faking results for api call is not a possible option for Android Nougat.

An other option I had in mind is to run certain apps in an empty environment. I was thinking i could achieve that by creating multiple users. I don't know what effects this could bring for my privacy.

My hope would be that nothing would be shared between different users. After digging in the Android documentation I'm not so sure about that being true.

  1. How much isolation does creating extra users bring?
  2. Are there alternative ways to sandbox/isolate apps?
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    @mattm I'm not intimately knowledgeable about it. I know that at least in the past revoking permissions leads to app crashes of malfunction. 1. Has that changed? 2. Does android respect it if I restrict GApps as well? 3. Is the new model forced on existing apps, or can they rely on a legacy layer? – Exception e Jun 8 '17 at 15:54

Staring under Marshmallow (Android 6), the Android OS is able to restrict individual permissions (which may or not be fine enough control for you) for an app. Under prior versions of Android, there was no ability to restrict a single permission; if you didn't like that an application used something, then you simply had to choose to uninstall the application.

You can inspect and change permissions under Settings->Apps->[Specific App Name]->Permissions. You can see the table of dangerous permissions that you are probably worried about. These permission categories cover the examples you have enumerated (contacts list -> contacts, call log -> phone, photos -> storage). Izzy has pointed out that there is no separate control for reading v. writing, which could be an issue if your application needs to write to storage but should not be able to view photos.

As Izzy has pointed out, there are some things you cannot control with these permissions, for example access to the randomly generated Android ID or internet access.

Whether an application still functions with a permission disabled depends on how it was written. Well written applications will continue to function in some way. Applications that are targeted to versions of Android before Marshmallow or that are simply poorly written may simply crash.

You can set permissions for Google Apps. You can for example:

  1. prevent the Photos application from reading storage, which means it will not be able to display your photos.
  2. prevent Gmail from reading your contacts

Using multiple users will not help you with privacy. When you install an application, this application is available for all users. You do not need to open an application for it to access your data. So while under user A the application cannot access user B's data, this does not really matter because the application can also run under user B while in the background.

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    Thx, I thought that revoking permissions was not a viable approach at all. Still, some apps needs to acces a contacts list. I would like to present some apps an empty contacts lists. What options do I have? Is multiple profiles/users/accounts helpfull? – Exception e Jun 8 '17 at 16:36
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    That's not an adequate protection. First, it's by far not granular enough (e.g. it cannot decide between "read calendar" and "write calendar"), and second it by very far doesn't cover all permissions (try e.g. restricting Internet access, or access to device IDs). To me, the built-in permission handling is not much more than a "white washing" attempt. Unfortunately, currently there doesn't seem to be a real solution when it comes to Nougat and up. – Izzy Jun 8 '17 at 20:05
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    @mattm seems it is, if OP wants to completely shield private data from apps – especially from system apps like GApps, which was especially pointed out in one comment. AFAIK that's not possible with Android's built-in AppOps. – Izzy Jun 8 '17 at 20:34
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    @Izzy Do I understand you correctly that creating multiple users on the device wouldn't be of help? Eg. would whatsapp (installed by user1) be able to read the contacts of user2? If so, is there really no solution for this privacy hell? I mean, who tf thinks that the 100%-promiscuity android model (share everything about the owner with everybody) would be ok for everyone? I have a hard time believing that this of no concern to anybody else. – Exception e Jun 9 '17 at 11:40
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    @Exceptione it wouldn't be of concern to Google who just wants your data :) But no: WA on user1 should not be able to access contacts on user2. But Apps on u1 and u2 would still see the same device identifiers, so WA/Facebook had easy play combining both contact lists. Same for other apps. – Izzy Jun 9 '17 at 11:59

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