Requests for permission and APIs that access sensitive information should make sense to users. You may only request permissions and APIs that access sensitive information that are necessary to implement current features or services in your app that are promoted in your Google Play listing. You may not use permissions or APIs that access sensitive information that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes. Personal or sensitive data accessed through permissions or APIs that access sensitive information may never be sold.
Request permissions and APIs that access sensitive information to access data in context (via incremental requests), so that users understand why your app is requesting the permission. Use the data only for purposes that the user has consented to. If you later wish to use the data for other purposes, you must ask users and make sure they affirmatively agree to the additional uses.
In addition to the above, restricted permissions are permissions that are designated as Dangerous, Special, Signature, or as documented below. These permissions are subject to the following additional requirements and restrictions:
- Sensitive user or device data accessed through Restricted Permissions may only be transferred to third parties if necessary to provide or improve current features or services in the app from which the data was collected. You may also transfer data as necessary to comply with applicable law or as part of a merger, acquisition, or sale of assets with legally adequate notice to users. All other transfers or sales of the user data are prohibited.
- Respect users’ decisions if they decline a request for a Restricted Permission, and users may not be manipulated or forced into consenting to any non-critical permission. You must make a reasonable effort to accommodate users who do not grant access to sensitive permissions (e.g., allowing a user to manually enter a phone number if they’ve restricted access to Call Logs).
- Use of permissions in contravention of official Android developer App permissions best practices or in violation of existing policies (including Elevated Privilege Abuse) are expressly prohibited.
Certain Restricted Permissions may be subject to additional requirements as detailed below. The objective of these restrictions is to safeguard user privacy. We may make limited exceptions to the requirements below in very rare cases where apps provide a highly compelling or critical feature and where there is no alternative method available to provide the feature. We evaluate proposed exceptions against the potential privacy or security impacts on users.
SMS and Call Log Permissions
SMS and Call Log Permissions are regarded as personal and sensitive user data subject to the Personal and Sensitive Information policy, and the following restrictions:
Apps lacking default SMS, Phone, or Assistant handler capability may not declare use of the above permissions in the manifest. This includes placeholder text in the manifest. Additionally, apps must be actively registered as the default SMS, Phone, or Assistant handler before prompting users to accept any of the above permissions and must immediately stop using the permission when they’re no longer the default handler. The permitted uses and exceptions are available on this Help Center page.
Apps may only use the permission (and any data derived from the permission) to provide approved core app functionality Core functionality is defined as the main purpose of the app. This may include a set of core features, which must all be prominently documented and promoted in the app’s description. Without the core feature(s), the app is “broken” or rendered unusable. The transfer, sharing, or licensed use of this data must only be for providing core features or services within the app, and its use may not be extended for any other purpose (e.g., improving other apps or services, advertising, or marketing purposes). You may not use alternative methods (including other permissions, APIs, or third-party sources) to derive data attributed to Call Log or SMS related permissions.
Apps are allowed to access location using foreground service (when the app only has foreground access e.g., "while in use") permission if the use:
Apps designed specifically for children must comply with the Designed for Families policy.
For more information on the policy requirements, please see this help article.
All Files Access Permission
Files and directory attributes on a user’s device are regarded as personal and sensitive user data subject to the Personal and Sensitive Information policy and the following requirements:
Package (App) Visibility Permission
The inventory of installed apps queried from a device are regarded as personal and sensitive user data subject to the Personal and Sensitive Information policy, and the following requirements:
Apps that have a core purpose to launch, search, or interoperate with other apps on the device, may obtain scope-appropriate visibility to other installed apps on the device as outlined below:
App inventory data queried from Play-distributed apps may never be sold nor shared for analytics or ads monetization purposes.
The Accessibility API cannot be used to:
The use of the Accessibility API must be documented in the Google Play listing.
Guidelines for IsAccessibilityTool
Apps with a core functionality intended to directly support people with disabilities are eligible to use the IsAccessibilityTool to appropriately publicly designate themselves as an accessibility app.
Apps not eligible for IsAccessibilityTool may not use the flag and must meet prominent disclosure and consent requirements as outlined in the User Data policy as the accessibility related functionality is not obvious to the user. Please refer to the AccessibilityService API help center article for more information.
Apps must use more narrowly scoped APIs and permissions in lieu of the Accessibility API when possible to achieve the desired functionality.