Have you ever installed an app and found it suspicious asking for too many unnecessary permissions on first run? It can be a potentially dangerous app on your smartphone. These apps can misuse data on Android devices to access potentially sensitive information.
Google gave users control over app permissions in Android 6, allowing them to choose what data a specific app can access. But it’s not easy for everyone to manage them from settings. Luckily, some apps can help simplify these settings for you. Let’s look at some of the best permission manager apps for Android.
Bouncer is the best app to manage permissions on your Android device. It is feature rich and intuitive. It lets you grant temporary permissions to any Android app, preventing them from abusing it. When an app requests permission access, Bouncer will send you a notification.
It comes with three options: Keep, Delete and Schedule. The dungeon option leaves authorization enabled, option Remove the option revokes it, and the option Program the option leaves it on for a specified time.
The best part of Bouncer is that it revokes permission as soon as you exit the app. For example, if you grant the camera access to Instagram, Bouncer will remove it as soon as you close Instagram. It lets you keep all your apps installed on your phone and grant permissions only when needed.
To download: Bouncer ($1.99)
2. Glass Yarn
GlassWire is more of a privacy monitor than a permissions manager. It monitors all the apps that use your internet data plan so you don’t get overcharged by your ISP or carrier. Moreover, it ensures that none of them violate your privacy and helps extend the battery life of your Android device. Whenever it detects network activity, it will notify you.
You can block certain apps from connecting to the Internet until they pass through the GlassWire Mobile Firewall. On top of that, GlassWire shows you a log of apps that have accessed the internet. It’s a great way to check for suspicious activity when you’re not using it.
GlassWire claims that it will never track you, serve ads, or use cellular or Wi-Fi data, so you don’t have to worry about that. It is free to use with limited features, but you can upgrade it for $0.99 to access more features.
To download: GlassWire (Free in-app purchases available)
3. Privacy Dashboard
The Privacy Dashboard is somewhat similar to Android 12’s Privacy Dashboard, as it brings all of its features and more to older Android devices. Its user interface is clean and easy to use.
It monitors all apps and their permission usage on your Android phone. Whenever an app tries to use sensitive permissions like camera, microphone, or location, it shows an indicator in the top right corner.
You can also see a dashboard with a detailed page with permissions usage, and the privacy dashboard itself will ask you for location and accessibility permissions. It’s completely free, but you can choose to donate to the developer if you like their work.
To download: Privacy Dashboard (Free in-app purchases available)
4. App Permissions Manager
App Permission Manager is another way to manage permissions on your Android device. Its user interface is good, but it takes some getting used to. It tells you which granted permissions pose a high risk of compromising your data and which don’t. It categorizes apps into four different sections: high-risk, medium-risk, low-risk, and no-risk apps.
High risk applications refers to apps that you have given access to sensitive permissions, like contacts, which are easily accessible once granted. Medium risk applications means sensitive permissions that aren’t as easily accessible like phone and camera. Low risk and Risk-free apps don’t affect you much, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Bang on All Apps shows you everything installed on your phone, and you’ll see an icon next to each app telling you if the granted permissions are causing problems or not. Once you select an app, you can see all of its permissions and manage them from the same page. It is free to download but contains ads.
To download: App permission manager (Free)
5. App Authorization and Tracking
App Permission & Tracker lists all permissions and allows you to authorize and revoke them. In addition to managing app permissions, it displays trackers that can monitor and collect data about your smartphone usage and compares it with different apps on your device.
Once opened, you will see a minimal interface and all applications (including system ones) installed on your smartphone. Tapping on any of them will give you more details about an app. You can install it for free, but ads may creep in here and there.
To download: App Authorization and Tracking (Free and premium version available)
Don’t Forget Android 12’s Native Privacy Dashboard
If you have a phone running Android 12 and above, you can use the native privacy dashboard to manage permissions. You can access it by going to Settings > Privacy > Privacy Dashboardwhere you will see all the permissions that different apps access on your phone.
Tapping on a specific permission will show all apps that have used it in the last 24 hours. Press the Manage authorization will take you to the management page, where you can revoke access.
The Privacy Dashboard is a great addition to Android, but its capabilities are limited at the moment. However, we expect new features in future versions of Android that will further improve the privacy dashboard.
Take control of your app permissions
Android is an open source platform. Therefore, you should take app permissions seriously, especially for the camera, microphone, and your location.
Android 12’s privacy controls gave you a lot more options to rule apps and prevent them from accessing parts of your phone you don’t want them to. The apps we’ve listed above give you more control and also bring older versions of Android. They make granting permissions to apps much safer.
That said, these apps can track and access your sensitive data when ignored. We advise you to revoke the permissions of apps that you rarely use to protect your data to a reasonable extent.