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Is there a list of permissions with more detailed descriptions available? The standard ones doesn't feel good, and I don't trust developers who write that they need permission X only to do Y--if their app requires permission X, this app will be able to do anything permitted by X, not only Y.

For example READ_PHONE_STATE is described as "Allows read only access to phone state" -- but what is included in that phone state? Is it only connected/disconnected? Or maybe it includes phone number I am actually talking to?

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2 Answers 2

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I can't find a good complete list, but you can always search for the permission on developer.android.com. In the case of READ_PHONE_STATE, it does look like the phone number can be read.

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  • I'm a programmer, so I'm OK with this. But it would be much easier if there was a explicit mapping: permission -> list of allowed calls...
    – liori
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:10
  • I agree. Maybe if I have time I'll search them all out and compile a list ... Apr 13, 2011 at 13:13
  • I believe when you install an app it gives a sort of "lay mans" description of what the permission does.
    – Bryan Denny
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:50
  • @Bryan Denny: as I wrote, description of some permissions are too vague. For example, what is phone state, actually?
    – liori
    Apr 13, 2011 at 14:59
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    @liori that's just the problem (and I know, this is what you are initially asking). The dev docs only link to this developer.android.com/intl/de/reference/android/… which is nothing more than the "lay man" description given. Doesn't say what functions use each permission (that would be nice). So there is no mapping. @Matthew's idea of searching for what uses it is about all we have to go on.
    – Bryan Denny
    Apr 13, 2011 at 17:19
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This blog post tries to explain permission: http://techpp.com/2010/07/30/android-apps-permissions-secure-private-data/

If you really need to know the specifics of each permissions, you can download and grep Android's source code (it's open source, after all). I think that's the best we can do for now.

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  • This does look like a good text. But it doesn't mention the thing found by Matthew Read in the other answer. Thanks!
    – liori
    Apr 14, 2011 at 16:11

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