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I was about to install the Outlook app on my phone, when it asked me to activate it as a device admin. (See image below):

IMG: Outlook Android App Device Admin Warning

I'm sure few people read the whole warning. One part greatly concerned me:

Monitor screen unlock attempts
Monitor the number of incorrect passwords typed. when unlocking the screen, and lock the phone or ease all the phone's data if too many incorrect passwords are typed.


Well shoot, if there's risk of all data being erased, I'm not really not that interested anymore! I often accidentally swipe patterns while I'm holding my phone in my hand. Plus a friend or young family member may be fooling around with my phone, unknowingly creating me a very long restoration process and lost data I can never get back.

What I'm wondering:

  1. Is this just a generic warning given for any app requesting admin privileges? Perhaps it's possible that Outlook doesn't use the erase feature?
  2. Is there a way to verify how many incorrect login attempts will trip the erasure?
  3. Can I override the ability for it to erase my phone? (I'm guessing not.)
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Is this just a generic warning given for any app requesting admin privileges? Perhaps it's possible that Outlook doesn't use the erase feature?

Only the operations which the app can perform are shown to the user. If the device admin screen shows an operation like "Monitor Screen Lock Attempts", then rest assured, the corresponding app does have that feature.

I am sharing an image from an app named Tasker which employs only one device admin operation and is asking only for it. This should be sufficient that the device admin screen doesn't show generic operations but only app-specific ones. This can further be tested against the list of maximum operations that can be shown from here.

IMG:

Is there a way to verify how many incorrect login attempts will trip the erasure?

Developers might be able to see it by analyzing the code from the APK using special tools. You could test this using trial and error on your own by using and running your app on it. Try incorrect passwords and count for yourself. I'm not aware of an easy way.

Can I override the ability for it to erase my phone?

I do not know as of now. An Xposed module like Bypass Exchange Policies might be able to do this.

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    Good idea, using Android x86 to find the failed login threshold. I'll report back if I find some useful data. – Bort Apr 17 at 2:21
  • I tried it myself with a Google account in Outlook. Didn't do anything even after 11 failed attempts. – Firelord Apr 17 at 3:01

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