So I use the app from Cleanbrowsing and gave the accessibility permission to it and saw that it can view my screen, action and inputs, perform actions and control the display.

Is this app even safe to use?

  • I guess it really depends on the providence of the app in question, if you got it from the Google Play Store that has certain rules about how apps work and bans them if they include scripts for "click fraud" for example then I imagine that's a good place to get a reliable app from, one hopes. If however you obtained the app from a 3rd party website with no vetting of apps that could have god knows what kind of nefarious scripting included in it... well you obviously need to be wary.
    – Archerbob
    Aug 28, 2022 at 4:31
  • I'm using the web version of the app because it has device admin permission so you can't uninstall it.
    – fkjdxyz
    Aug 28, 2022 at 5:39
  • 3
    I'd be very, very careful granting that to an app – regardless if it came from Play Store. As you found out, that permission give access to a lot of things and can be abused not only to spy on you, but also to cause other harm. So unless there's a very good reason to it and you really trust the developer, I would not recommend granting it. Seeing the reason the dev of this app gives (calling it "advanced browsing" that the user shall be unable to uninstall the app, see Andrew's answer), seems rather suspicious to me.
    – Izzy
    Aug 28, 2022 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


It always depends on how trusted the app is.

As for why the accessibility service (which this permission is about) has such powerful control, it is because the original purpose is to help people control their device more easily. Taken from the official Android documentation on Accessibility service,

An accessibility service is an application that provides user interface enhancements to assist users with disabilities, or who may temporarily be unable to fully interact with a device.

Example of accessibility services:

  • TalkBack: eyes-free control of your device, by viewing the screen and intercepting the user's action to read out the content.
  • Voice Access: control your device with spoken commands, by viewing the screen and performing actions with voice commands.
  • Switch Access: interact with your Android device using one or more switches instead of the touchscreen, by viewing the screen and performing actions using button switches or face gestures.

However, developers also found unusual ways of using Android accessibility services, as explained by Maksym Dybarskyi:

[...] there are several ways of unusual usage of accessibility services. I wrote ‘unusual’ because all these scenarios are different from the original purpose of accessibility services.

Automation apps like Tasker, MacroDroid, and Automate have their own "accessibility services" to allow more features that are otherwise restricted by the system (e.g. intercept action on buttons, take screenshots, etc.)

As for CleanBrowser, the documentation claimed,

Advanced functionality includes removing the users ability to uninstall the app. [...] it makes use of the Accessibility API to prevent the user from uninstalling the [app],

(Emphasis added)

  • This answer is a big No. An Accessibility Service lets an application simulate touch and read the content of the screen. Read again. Enabling an accessibility service is like giving your phone to somebody else. In fact, this is how almost all non 0-day malwares work on Android. Every single malware starts by pressuring the user into enabling its accessibility service, then uses it to steal passwords, prevent deletion, gain permissions, and dismiss warnings and notifications. Don't enable third-party Accessibility Services unless you absolutely need it. P.S. You don't need it. Aug 28, 2022 at 16:42

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