Learn about restricted settings

When you install an app on an Android device, you control app permissions. Permissions let you choose which capabilities or info that an app can use. Learn how to change app permissions.

Harmful apps might ask you to change settings that put your device or data at risk. To protect you from harmful apps, some device settings may be restricted when you install an app. These restricted settings can’t be changed unless you allow restricted settings.

How to identify a scam

Scammers use various methods to trick people into downloading harmful apps to get to their personal data. Consider the following example scenarios to determine if an app could be a scam.

You’ve been contacted out of nowhere

Unexpected messages should raise suspicion. Fraudsters often send convincing text messages or emails. For example, they may claim you have a missed delivery or voicemail.

The app insists you change a device setting

Apps typically explain why a permission or setting must be changed before it asks you to change them. Requests made by harmful apps are often unexplained or don’t make sense.

It’s too good to be true

Harmful apps might claim to improve the performance of your phone, or offer content that you'd expect to pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are spelling & grammar mistakes

Messages and apps that have spelling and grammar errors are likely from scammers. Legitimate organizations will rarely make these mistakes when they contact you.

Tip: If you’re unsure about an app you've been told to download, go to the official website of the company or organization. You can also search for the app on an app store you trust, like Google Play. Learn more about how Android keeps you safe. Review our tips to help you stay safe online.

Allow restricted settings

Important:

When you enable restricted settings, you allow apps to get access to sensitive info that could put your personal data at risk. We don’t recommend that you allow restricted settings unless you trust the app developer.

Some legitimate apps might ask you to enable restricted settings. For example, an app that’s designed to support people with disabilities might ask you to turn on accessibility settings. With access to accessibility settings, the app can read content on your screen and interact with apps on your behalf.

  1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap the app that you want to turn on a restricted setting for.
    • Tip: If you can't find it, first tap See all apps or App info.
  4. Tap More and then Allow restricted settings.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
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