Android 12 data and privacy features you probably didn’t know about

Use Android 12’s new privacy dashboard and settings to control what information your apps can access. 


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Android 12 is now available on select devices. The update was announced at the October Pixel event and comes with a a few popular features, like face-based autorate for your screen to automatically adjust when you turn it and “silky home” to make your phone easier to use with one hand. The latest OS update is available for Pixel phones now, including the latest Pixel 6, and will roll out to other Android devices soon. 

But several new privacy features are new, too. They’re designed to give you more control over how much private information the apps on your phone can access. Now Android users can manage a privacy dashboard that lets them manage their permissions and location. The October Android update also lets you disable your microphone and camera on all apps (more below). 

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Here’s how to see exactly which apps can access specific information about you, and how to revoke any permissions you aren’t comfortable with. And we’ll show you how to access your new privacy dashboard to better control what your apps can see about you.

Manage your location and permissions for Android apps

1. Open the Privacy Dashboard.

2. From the main page, you can navigate to different permissions to see which apps accessed that information in the last 24 hours. These include location, camera, microphone and contacts.

3. Tap the permission you want to view. You’ll see a timeline of which apps accessed that information and when. 

4. Tap Manage permission at the bottom of the screen. This will let you change what that app can access. (You can also do this directly from each app.) 

You’ll also find the ability to turn on approximate location instead of precise location, so apps that don’t need to know exactly where you are (such as weather apps) won’t get that level of detail. 


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Easily turn off your microphone and camera access across all apps

Another new Android 12 feature gives you more control over use of your phone’s microphone and camera. Here’s how to turn them on and off across your entire phone:

1. Open your Quick Settings bar. 

2. Toggle the Microphone or Camera setting on or off. 

Note that this will turn it off for the entire system, so even if you’ve given an app permission to access the microphone or camera in the past, this will override that permission. However, the app itself won’t know you’ve turned it off — it will just see a blank feed. If you toggle either your camera or microphone off, the Android system will remind you when you’ve opened an app that needs them. 

For more, check out the best new Android 12 features and everything else announced at Google I/O


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