app permissions

There are many ways to spend your time doing nothing. But some things that constantly distract us from doing nothing. It’s either preparing for the next exam, doing some late-night homework, or writing some essay or research paper. All that while trying to have some sleep. 

Most likely, you wanted to take a trip or go to some party, but that seems to be possible only during the next spring or summer break. In the meanwhile, you need to focus on easier ways to relax.Yet, you can win some time with ‘do my  homework online’ services and free yourself from the paperwork.

Now, think about how to relax your mind. The best thing is to install a gaming or dating app. Maybe, you will match with someone. Maybe, you will have a new interesting game to play.

But, while installing it and giving the application all the required permissions, a question pop-ups. Why do mobile apps need so many permissions? This question bugs a lot of smartphone users and makes others indulge in conspiracy theories. 

So, to make it easier, let’s talk about why apps need those permissions. But before that, to avoid any hint of paranoia, let’s identify what permissions can be considered dangerous.

Types of Permission You Should Beware Of 

 

  1. Read External Storage – when the app is asking for this permission, you can get alerted. And you should think about why the application needs access to your external storage. If your app has to do something with cleaning up your smartphone, then it’s quite a logical request. 
  2. Modify or Delete External Storage – another point to get alerted and ask the question of why the app requires access to your external storage. And, again, most likely, it will be requested by the app that has something to do with cleaning up or managing your data. 

 

If the application is from a reputable developer, you can trust and grant permission. However, if you don’t want to grant access to your SD card, you can simply deny it. If you did provide the app with permission, the only thing to worry about is messing up with the settings (i.e., permitting to delete something you didn’t want to) or the case when the app is hacked. 

 

Generally, different messaging, navigation, and lifestyle apps are asking for too many permissions. But here are several aspects that you should be extremely cautious about:

 

  • unnecessary permissions – a flashlight app doesn’t need access to your storage data;
  • unknown developers – you are always at risk when downloading apps from unknown companies;
  • free apps – a free app can collect your data to sell it to third parties or spam you with numerous ads. 

 

There are a few things you need to keep in mind, though. Not all unknown developers are bad. And not all the free apps are mining your data. Try searching for some extra information on them. Make it a useful habit to do your research on the apps before downloading and installing them. Now, let’s talk about what permissions apps may need and why. 

Calendar

Some applications may need access to your calendar. It is wise to use them if they are work-related, and you would like to have all the appointments in your calendar. At the same time, games that don’t have live tournaments will unlikely require access to your calendar. 

Camera

If the application has something to do with making or sending videos and pictures, like Messenger, it may need access to the camera. But if the app doesn’t have any functions linked to the camera, the access to it is surely unjustified. You may be recorded on video without even noticing it. 

Contacts

Sometimes, granted access to your contact list is great. You may not have some of your old friends on social media, but an app can make them pop up on your friend suggestion list. Still, you must be extremely careful about it. By providing the app with your contact list, you not only give your information away but may cause a threat to your acquaintances. 

Location

There are several reasons why the app may require access to your location. Sometimes, it is easier for your friends to find you via sharing your location if you get lost. Knowing your location, dating apps can show your prospective partners that are nearby. But it may also lead thieves to your house. So, always tick the “only when using the app” option. 

Microphone

Sometimes, it is faster and easier to record a voice message rather than type it. That’s why messaging apps may require permission to access your microphone. But here, you need to trust only reputable developers. Apps from the unknown ones can record your private conversations and give them to hackers. 

Body Sensors

Various fitness trackers may require access to your body censors, such as information on your heart rate or steps counts. And it is okay to grant permissions to apps like that. But keep in mind that any other application asking for such permission should raise red flags at once. 

Phone

Apps like Facebook Messenger that use Voice Over IP connection may require access to your phone number and network information. However, it may lead to applications making phone calls without your consent if something goes wrong, for instance, if the app gets hacked. 

Conclusion

Digitalization has made a lot of things easier, but you need to remember that the online world is no safer than its offline counterpart. You are risking your data whenever you are going online. The worst thing you can do is give access to your private information without thinking about the necessity of such an action and its consequences. Yet, being more cautious about granting apps permissions and doing the research on their developers may keep you safer. 

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.