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The automatic permission removal of unused apps is a great feature that I quite like (and therefore don't want to necessarily disable for a bunch of apps). However, my phone does not correctly identify unused apps. There are apps I use every day that get their permissions removed every 3 months (seems to be the interval the phone checks).

For example: I use Android Auto which calls up Maps (built-in Google Maps app) just about every day, and every so often, location permission for Maps gets revoked "due to not being used". I use Google Voice (via forwarding) for my voicemail, and permission for contacts gets revoked, etc.

It would seem whatever is supposed to track app usage does not function, and I wonder if there's a way to diagnose/fix that?

Under my Google account "Activity controls", I do have basically everything turned off for privacy, and I hope that's not the issue: (web and app activity -> off, location history -> off, YouTube history -> off, Ad personalization -> off)

As of right now, at least several of the apps that got permissions revoked are listed in the battery usage statistics (from the last charge), so evidently some parts of the system can correctly track usage.

Details:

  • Samsung A52 5G
  • Android 11 One UI 3.1 (using Nova launcher if that matters)
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    Android developers says (see last para) you can alter the default time. You can try setting it to 1000ms to see if it works!//If it does increase the threshold value to a laaaaaarge value //I am on Android 12 so can't say if it works on 11 or not
    – beeshyams
    Feb 18 at 8:52
  • Of course, this would apply to the whole device and therefore may not be ideal from privacy view - it's a compromise
    – beeshyams
    Feb 18 at 10:58
  • @beeshyams your suggestion could functionally turn off the feature by setting the threshold to something like years of time, but I'm looking for why usage is not detected correctly. I have had permissions revoked on apps I use every day. Is there a way to debug what the current timer value is (then go open an app and see if it resets)? or to debug for example a log of activities that should have reset the timer?
    – Aaron
    Feb 18 at 17:35
  • 1. I know what you are looking for and don't have answers, some other Samsung users reported similar 2. My logic was of that there is a bug in detection mechanism which is triggering this for example daily, trying to increase this to two days for example, can possibly help in fine tuning a figure which is neither turning off privacy control nor hampering your usage//It's a long shot //I was Googling yesterday and saw at least three reports from Samsung users - didn't bookmark them to share
    – beeshyams
    Feb 19 at 4:10
  • @beeshyams if the answer is "there is no way" for anyone other than Samsung to fix / debug this, then I would be willing to accept your suggestion of setting the threshold timer as an answer. It would seem Samsung may have "customized" this feature because instead of each app having it's own threshold, it would seem there is just some sort of global scan every three months to put apps in hibernation (unless it hibernates after the correct time, then simply generates a notification only every three months).
    – Aaron
    Feb 19 at 15:34

1 Answer 1

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So, I don't know much about android or coding for it. But I had a similar problem with an app. It was an app that comes up automatically under certain use cases. I'm pretty sure it was a texting app. Well months would go by where I did not click on the app to open it. Only on notifications that popped up, and this would happen to me too. Unless I either closed the app in recently used applications and opened it, or went and pressed on the icon. I know when in the car Android auto can auto connect and give you a notification. Maybe that is why, I don't know I'm just spit balling, but, when I started to open the app at least once a month manually it stopped happening. This was a Galaxy S8 too, I have a pixel 4xl now. But that stopped it for me. Almost seemed like the OS forgot the app was running in the background. It's not an educated guess cause like I said I don't know a lot about Android, or various flavors of it, but maybe it's a similar issue?

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  • according to the docs linked in the comments, interacting with a notification should reset the timer just like opening an app manually. My problem is even with apps I open manually however. I took a trip abroad in January, used google translate a bunch, then in Feb, its permissions were revoked because "I hadn't used it in over 3 months" despite extensive use less than a month ago. I saddened to hear sorta confirmation this may just be a Samsung thing however.
    – Aaron
    Feb 19 at 21:33

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