I'm trying to determine if it's safe to grant the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission to an app. Specifically, I would want to grant this permission to MacroDroid (an automation app similar to Tasker) so that the app can turn on location/GPS automatically (without my input) based on the automation rules that I set. It seems that no app can automatically turn on/off location/GPS without the user input, so Macrodroid recommended its users to grant their app this permission (see forum) if they want the app to set the following automatically:

  • Battery Saver
  • Location Mode
  • NFC Enable/Disable
  • Set Language

I've been exploring the ABD tool but a bit reluctant to do this since I couldn't find information about the safety of granting this permission to 3rd party app. I also don't know the full list of features that the app can do after WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS is granted, so I appreciate if you can give me some details about this secure settings permission.

After digging in a bit and it seems that the Android docs didn't say much. https://developer.android.com/reference/android/Manifest.permission.html#WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

Appreciate the help!

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  • How do you define safe? Next, these permissions are required to bypass Android restrictions on stock devices. Android has evolved with changing restrictions for users. In KitKat, you could have apps turn off mobile data without root. Now you can't. If you are uncomfortable with this hack, them don't use it but I see no risk. For the same app, I have used this hack for my unrooted device that I am currently using – beeshyams Jan 2 '18 at 10:20
  • By safe, I mean what potential harm can the app do to your system if this permission is enable on the app. Part of the reasons I'm asking is that I don't know the full list of settings the app can change if this is enabled. Based on the forum, it seems the app can change the following: Battery Saver, Location Mode, NFC Enable/Disable, Set Language. But is this the complete list? The Android docs don't tell you this. – Guy Jan 2 '18 at 18:39
  • I can't say about potential harm but the list is complete – beeshyams Jan 3 '18 at 1:01
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    I don't have any experience with Android's Secure Settings, but Settings.Secure (and probably also Settings.Global) might help. – Andrew T. Jan 3 '18 at 8:11
  • @AndrewT. nice find! thanks for the info. Seems that has a complete list. So an app can use any of the available settings that are under the Settings.Secure group if the write secure settings are granted to it. – Guy Jan 4 '18 at 17:43

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