Google’s recent Play Developer Policy update restricts which apps are allowed to access your call log and SMS data.
The change comes as an effort to make users more secure. Currently, apps can request permission to access this data when users install them. Naturally, users can deny that permission — but many don’t.
Google realized that it shouldn’t take call logs and SMS data so lightly. There’s plenty of valuable information in there about how users communicate.
As such, the new Play Developer Policy only grants access to this data to the default phone and SMS apps. Additionally, the default Assistant app can access these permission as well.
The restriction is crucial as it limits access to just two apps. Even if a user grants permission to an app, they also need to make it a default app.
A prime example of this would be Facebook Messenger, which can act as an SMS app. If a user sets Messenger as the default SMS app, then it can access your SMS information. Otherwise, it can’t.
Ideally, this will help protect users who grant access to apps haphazardly.
Google says developers have 90 days to update their apps to work with the policy change. After 90 days, the new policy will come into effect.
The search giant posted a Help Center article for developers looking for alternatives to these permissions.