Android O's Autofill API Brings Changes For LastPass Users

The developer preview of Android O has been available for a little while now and there have been several changes introduced with the latest update of the mobile operating system, which is the now the world's most popular operating system and is estimated to be used worldwide on approximately 1.4 billion devices. The major change that will affect users of services like LastPass, a password management service, is the introduction of an Autofill Framework which means that users can now securely save much more than just their passwords. The new API allows apps such as LastPass to recognize details such as logins, addresses, and credit card forms - if you have the relevant information stored in your LastPass vault, the app will autofill the details for you. This will remove the frustration many users feel when having to enter the same details across multiple sites and mistakenly entering incorrect details on online forms. When you're shopping online, logging into sites, and filling out other forms, you'll be able to easily choose from any sets of details you've stored in the vault.

Currently, LastPass uses "Android's accessibility features" to identify and fill in relevant password fields. This means that users must grant additional permissions to the app for it to work, but with the introduction of the Autofill Framework that will change. A post on the LastPass blog stated that "the Autofill Framework is purpose-built to allow apps like LastPass to fill eligible forms on a user’s behalf, and nothing else. We believe strongly in user privacy and security, and we’re happy to see Google introduce this method for safer, more efficient browsing."

There are other changes which aim to improve the user experience on Android. One of the updates called "background limits" will improve battery life by limiting app's activities in three major areas: location services, background activity, and "implicit broadcasts." An update has also been made to the way Android devices display notifications. Android users will now receive "notification channels," which is thought to deliver notifications in a bundle, rather than individually. The developer's version hasn't been released to the beta site yet - currently, the only way to try this preview is to download and flash it to your device which could potentially cause damage, or through the official Android emulator. There is no official release date yet for Android O, and Google haven't yet confirmed what the name of the operating system will be when it's released.

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Alexa Ward

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