App permissions: the difference between Android and iOS

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Nov 26, 2014 2:44:30 PM via Website

If you're not super familiar with both Android and iOS or you have only ever really used one platform or the other, you could be forgiven for thinking that both OSes use the same permissions for the same apps. This isn't the case.

On Android, there are much more specific app permissions because each app has to identify and explain what each permission it requires is for. To install an app you have to accept all the permissions it request, but sometimes the permissions have nothing to do with what the app actually does (like when a game wants access to your call logs, contacts list and camera).

You can, of course, limit the reach of those permissions with an app like F-Secure App Permissions but denying app permissions may affect the way an app functions.

On iOS, on the other hand, installing an app automatically grants some basic permissions, but nothing beyond the absolute basics required for an app to run. When the app wants to access your contacts, location, emails, camera etc the app requests permission at that time. The good part about this is you can allow the permissions you agree with and deny the ones you don't. But again, some features of an app may not work if you deny certain permissions. But you have more control (and more permission request popups.)

So while Android gives you more detail on app permissions, you kind of have to agree wholesale to whatever an app developer requests (which sadly get used for bad reasons all the time). The best thing to do is be judicious about which apps you install based on the permissions they request: but for this to happen you need to actually read the permission requests at install time!

Which system do you prefer? How do you manage app permissions?

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