I've always thought that if an app has to get access to certain information on your phone, you have to give it permission in the "permissions" settings in phone settings.

However, on Google Play, it says under the "Data safety" tab,in "Data Collected", that TikTok (and other apps, such as the YouTube and Facebook app) can access "Web Browser History". What I find especially strange is that it says that TikTok's access to this is "optional". Where on earth can I, if that's the case, change the setting?

I am rather shocked, as this is a far reaching privacy intrusion, and there's no way to stop it. It isn't listed in app permissions in the phone settings. Access to web history isn't even a permission anymore. That made me believe that it's not possible for another app to get access to web history.

Have I misunerstood something here? How can it say in Google Play that an app can access your browser history, when it is not possible to grant that permission in the phone setting?

  • 1
    The field "Data Collected" is a declaration by the app manufacturer. And in case of TikTok I assume this is related to the fact that if you click a link in Tiktok it uses a built-in web browser instead of the default system web browser. And in this internal web browser has a history and it even injects custom TikTok JavaScript into loaded web pages if I remeber correctly.
    – Robert
    Feb 27 at 17:29
  • Thank you for answering! I would guess so as well, but wouldn't that be under "app activity" and not web browsing history? "Web browsing history" sounds like it's collecting data from the main web browser. I don't believe that's actually the case though.
    – Ole H
    Feb 27 at 18:00
  • It isn't the case. Feb 27 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


As Robert has mentioned, the "Data safety" is a self-declaration by the developer, and the options are predefined by Play Store, meaning that they cannot modify the items inside each category but can only choose whether they use the data or not.

Also note that the wording is "Web browsing history", not "browser". The intention based on the official documentation is this:

Category Data type Description
... ... ...
Web browsing Web browsing history Information about the websites you have visited.
... ... ...

It doesn't mean the web browser (app)'s history, but a history of web browsing from their own app. Since this is a self-declaration, developers might have a different interpretation, like even opening TikTok links from their own app counts for analytic purposes (in this case, they declared it for "advertising or marketing" optionally).

Since this is a self-declaration, there may be no relevant Android permissions that are automatically detected by Play Store and the Android system. The relevant settings might even be placed on the app or web instead, like an option to opt out from targeted advertising based on web browsing history (if there is one).

As for whether apps can access browser history, the browser history is commonly stored inside the internal app-specific storage which can only be accessed by the browser app itself. Thus, unless the browser provides a way to access it like using a content provider or exported APIs, there's no way for apps to access the web browser history.

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