Google blocks apps that try to find out what other apps you have installed on your phone

Google will prevent Android apps from finding out what other apps are installed on your phone, which is a common tactic for spying on users.

Especially in case of malware infection, listing the applications installed on the device can facilitate the detection and neutralization of antivirus programs, along with any other utilities that could facilitate the removal of the source of infection. In many other situations, application developers just want to know if competing products are installed on the device, such as rival web browsers, search services, and so on.

Given that the collection of information is done “under the radar” without the express consent of users, the practice is de facto an abuse, which Google promises to block permanently.

According to investigations by XDA-Developers enthusiasts, Google has already adjusted the Developer Program Policy criteria, making it difficult for developers to access applications installed on devices. Specifically, the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission has been moved to the “personal and sensitive information” category, which means that it can only be granted with information and strict user consent.

The change applies to devices with Android 11, updated at least to the API level 30 version.

However, there is an exception, stating that permission can be granted to financial applications (eg customers for Homebanking services), strictly for security reasons.

What is certain is that all the new updates for Android applications will have to address the API level 30 version by November 30, 2021 at the latest, forcing most application developers to align with the new requirements.

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