Android Q May Enable Time Travel By Reverting App Updates

A new Android Q-related report has surfaced on XDA Developers, and it actually gives us a bit more insight as to what expect out of the next big iteration of Android. This information was pulled from Android Q’s framework, and it’s based on the permissions that Android Q requires from users.

Reverting Updates

Android Q may allow you to revert an app update, just in case the new version is broken, and you need to use the old one. Chances are most of you have experienced this at least once thus far, and you know how annoying it can be. Developers make mistakes, they’re only human, and new app updates don’t always play nice with some phones, so that can be an issue as well. All in all, a feature like this would be extremely useful.

You can downgrade app updates on Android 9 Pie as well, but only if you have root and an app like Titanium Backup, there’s no native support for something like that, which is a shame. In any case, the information shared here is based on several permissions and commands in Android Q that suggest that may be possible, including “PACKAGE_ROLLBACK_AGENT”, and “MANAGER ROLLBACKS” permissions, amongst others.

More Security For Your Clipboard

At the moment (in Android 9 Pie), every app can read your clipboard, basically. This essentially means that every app on your phone can see what you’ve copied, and considering how many people copy sensitive info, including usernames and passwords, this can be quite an issue if you install a rogue app on your phone. This is actually the very reason why password managers became so popular on Android.

In any case, a new permission has been found in Android Q code, “READ_CLIPBOARD_IN_BACKGROUND”, which suggests that Google plans to offer some more security in that regard, finally. This suggests that you will be required to allow apps to gain access to your clipboard, or perhaps a setting for it will be available somewhere in the menu, which is a bit less probable.

Security For Files on External Storage

In Android 9 Pie, if you allow an app permission to access external storage files, for any reason, it will gain access to everything that is available on external storage, and needless to say, that can be an issue. In order to amend this, Google seems to be planning to introduce a couple of new external storage-related permissions in the upcoming version of Android, including: the ability to read the locations from your media, access music files, access photos, and access videos, which would all be separate permissions, it seems.

Now, as far as internal storage is concerned, things are different, and Android offers far more security in that regard, as the OS knows that sensitive files are stored on internal storage, and it blocks access to it by default, and even when you grant an app a permission to access storage, it can access only storage in that new folder that is created for that app in specific, and in some cases some specific folders.

Background Location Access To Make A Return

Location access permissions changed quite a bit on Android Oreo and Android Pie, at least for apps running in the background. Apps need to run either in the foreground or have a foreground service running in order to access device’s location. This is a good thing when it comes to security, as but it can also block some apps from accessing your storage even if you want them to access it.

In Android Q, Google seems to be planning to add a new permission which would allow an app to have background access to the device’s location, and that will be an additional and separate permission, while the default setting for all apps will remain unchanged, so not every app in the background will be able to access location data.

Physical Activity Recognition

A permission which allows an app to “recognize your physical activity” will be altered, as it’s already a part of Android. Now, this permission is already a part of Google Play Services, kind of, but this new permission that was spotted may suggest that Google will set it aside as a separate permission for some reason, perhaps to give developers more control over it, or something of the sort.

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About the Author
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Kristijan has been writing for Android Headlines since 2014 and is an editor for the site. He has worked as a writer for several outlets before joining Android Headlines, and has a background in writing about Android and technology in general. He is a smartphone enthusiast that specializes in Android applications, and that platform in general. Contact him at Kristijan. [email protected]
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