I only just now became aware of the "Apps with usage access" preference view. However I'm irritated.

The permission was deemed important enough as to warrant a separate setting view to provide control and summary to the user, while at the same time there is almost no explanation as to what it does. On my OnePlus, there is not even a help page.

So, exactly what kind of access does an app get if it requests (and receives) usage data access? And if usage data I would really like to know what kind of usage data.

Android version is 8.1, should that make a difference.


1 Answer 1


Not a developer here

Apps granted this permission have access to data pertaining to usage of other apps, like in my case Better Battery Statistics, Macrodroid (automation app) and such apps that need to know this

App usage statistics

You can now access app usage history on an Android device with the new android.app.usage API

The system collects the usage data on a per-app basis, aggregating the data over daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly intervals. The maximum duration that the system keeps this data is as follows:

  • Daily data: 7 days
  • Weekly data: 4 weeks
  • Monthly data: 6 months
  • Yearly data: 2 years

For each app, the system records the following data:

  • The last time the app was used

  • The total length of time the app was in the foreground for that time interval (by day, week, month, or year)

  • Timestamp capturing when a component (identified by a package and activity name) moved to the foreground or background during a day

  • Timestamp capturing when a device configuration changed (such as when the device orientation changed because of rotation)

  • That was pretty complete, thank you! (Though I wonder why BitDefender needs that permission, seems pretty useless for an Anti-Virus)
    – dualed
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 14:18
  • You are welcome. I have no idea as to why that app needs it !
    – beeshyams
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 14:22
  • Virus Scanners are supposed to monitor other apps. That's what they are for.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 20:54
  • 2
    @ashleedawg They are meant to scan apps for viruses, not track how I use apps.
    – dualed
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 23:41

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