More apps will finally be able to manage storage better in Android 11 soon, following an email reportedly sent out by Google. In the email, Google informs developers that they’ll need to inform the search giant as to why their app or apps request broad storage access. And that needs to happen before May 5. This will primarily apply to apps such as file managers that need broad storage access to function.
Those developers who don’t respond, of course, won’t be allowed to publish updates that target Android 11. And developers much target Android 11 by November, so those developers who need storage access will need to get on board with Google. Otherwise, their apps are likely to be pulled from the Google Play Store.
Why does this matter to Android 11 users and how does this affect storage access for devs?
Now, the real discrepancy here is that Google currently doesn’t allow developers to access the “All Files Access” permission. That’s the storage access permission that would be needed for those apps that really need it to target Android 11 — and it’s the permission Google is talking about via its email. That permission allows apps to access effectively all of the data stored on or externally to a device.
So, as noted above, deep file managers are the primary target here. And that’s likely where users will notice the new permission request in action. There are very few other apps that would need all of that access. To summarize, apps that target Android 11 and request access to all files can be uploaded to the Google Play Store in May. And that appears to be when the requisite Declaration Form for gaining access to the permission will go live.
All other apps will need to refine their access
The other side of this coin, of course, is that other apps will need to more finely tune which data is accessed. And that’s because Scoped Storage access will become a requirement for apps at the same time. That will, of course, be required for all Android apps as of May 5 since they’ll need to target Android 11.