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The feature will automatically reset the runtime permissions of unused apps.

Last week Google announced that they plan to have app runtime permissions expire on older versions of Android for apps that haven’t run for several months. This will, in effect, extend the availability of a privacy protection feature introduced in Android 11. The new feature will be available in December, according to Google.

The feature not only eliminates the need for users to keep up with the permissions that they’ve previously granted to apps, but also ensures that unused apps do not keep accessing their data. Once the feature resets permissions for an app, you’ll have to re-grant the app permissions the next time you use it.

Google software engineers Peter Visontay and Bessie Jiang explained the new feature in a blog post last week. “In Android 11, we introduced the permission auto-reset feature,” they write. “This feature helps protect user privacy by automatically resetting an app’s runtime permissions – which are permissions that display a prompt to the user when requested – if the app isn’t used for a few months.”

“Starting in December 2021, we are expanding this to billions more devices,” they write.

Availability for Android 6 and higher starting in December

That behavior is the default in Android 11 and in Android 12, expected in a few weeks. Come December, it will become the default in older versions of Android that rely on Google Play services. This feature will automatically become available on devices with Google Play services that are running Android 6.0 or higher.

There are some apps and permissions that are automatically exempt from revocation. These include active Device Administrator apps used by enterprises and permissions that follow enterprise policy.

Developers can also ask users to prevent the feature from resetting the runtime permissions for their apps. Users can do this by tapping Permissions in the App permissions settings screen and turning off the Remove permissions if app isn’t used option.