I need to run an IoT control Android app with network access that also insists to have permission to access local media files, or its a no-go.

I don't fully trust this app and I don't want to grant it such permission.

Is there a way to run it inside a container of some sort, where it will just see "empty" local storage.

The phone is Pixel 5 with all the latest updates.

  • 2
    Nothing on-board I'm afraid. But isolation/sandbox apps like Shelter or Insular might do the job. An introduction and how-to for Shelter can be found here; it uses the work-profile feature of Android to create an isolated "work environment". Haven't tested such, though, only installing apps I trust from sources I trust (usually F-Droid).
    – Izzy
    Jun 22 at 6:48
  • @Izzy, thank you, I'll check it out. Surprising this niche hasn't been properly filled in yet, but maybe this is something only Google can do.
    – noseratio
    Jun 22 at 7:57
  • If it fits your needs, please consider to answer your own question ;)
    – Izzy
    Jun 22 at 22:50

We don't have anything like this, but we do have Multiple User and you can probably Add Guest User (Not sure about functionalities) to test it.

  • 1
    With the permission to access local media files, this will still allow the app to access everything on the (physical/removable) SD card I'm afraid. Though I'm not sure if the same is also true for Shelter & Co.
    – Izzy
    Jun 22 at 22:48
  • 1
    @Izzy Not sure if OEM adds anything extra into it, but my OnePlus isolate all the files that exist in the main user and the question is about the Pixel phone, so no slot for an external SD card will be there. Anyways he/she can test it first if it's viable. Jun 23 at 4:22
  • Thanks Maaz! I've never played with that so I wasn't sure. But I guess you're speaking of Android 10 or higher, right? Because before that, an app with READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE could read the external SD card completely. Scoped storage was only introduced with Android 10 and enforced with Android 11.
    – Izzy
    Jun 23 at 19:53

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