How to use the new data protection options of Android 12

0
29

Privacy is probably one of the biggest buzzwords in tech these days, and even data-loving Google is getting involved.

The Android 12 update has a handful of privacy-related additions that you’d better explore. (The software is currently at the end of its beta phase and is expected to hit the market every week.) Some of them are under the hood and automatic – like the new Private Compute Core, which enables certain types of sensitive computing in an isolated manner Environment, completely on your device. But others are more on the surface. And that means it’s up to you to use them – or at least understand what they do.

Here are the top three privacy-related innovations in Android 12 and what you need to know to take advantage of them. (Note that Android 12 is currently only available on Pixel smartphones. Instructions may vary as it becomes available on other devices.)

Privacy dashboard

First up in the Android 12 privacy palette is Google’s shiny new privacy dashboard. It’s essentially a streamlined command center that lets you see how different apps are accessing data on your device, so you can restrict that access as needed.

In the Android version of Google, you can get to the privacy dashboard in three easy steps:

  • Open your System Preferences (by swiping down twice from the top of the screen and tapping the gear-shaped icon in the panel that appears).
  • Scroll down and tap the Privacy section.
  • At the top of the screen, tap the “Privacy Dashboard” entry.

The new data protection dashboard in Android 12.

A data access timeline is never more than a tap away.

A data access timeline is never more than a tap away.

From the privacy dashboard, you can drill down into any specific type of role (e.g., if you’re looking for a role other than location, camera, or microphone, you may need to tap “Show other permissions” at the bottom of the screen).

If something is wrong after that, all you need is one tip to get to an app’s authorization list and withdraw its functions.

Sensor access indicators

Next up on the Android 12 privacy list is a feature that you will occasionally see on your screen, but the message of which may not always be obvious. Whenever an app accesses your phone’s camera or microphone – even if only in the background – Android 12 places an indicator in the upper right corner of your screen to warn you.

When the indicator first appears, it displays an icon that corresponds to the exact type of access. But this symbol only remains visible for about a second, after which the indicator changes to a tiny green dot.

So how do you know what is being accessed and which app is responsible for it? The secret is in the downward swipe: whenever you see a green dot in the corner of your screen, swipe down once from the top of the display. The dot expands back to that full icon, and you can then tap on it to see exactly what it’s about.

Android 12's access indicators begin as icons, but then change to small green dots.

Android 12’s access indicators begin as icons, but then change to small green dots.

All current and most recent sensor accesses are displayed by swiping and tapping.

All current and most recent sensor accesses are displayed by swiping and tapping.

If you tap on the name of an app in this pop-up, you will be taken directly to that app’s permissions page, where you can check which types of access it allows and which not.

Quick change sensor switch

Last but not least, there is a new set of switches that allow you to completely turn off your phone’s camera, microphone, or GPS sensor with a single quick tap.

The toggles are located in the quick settings area of ​​Android and may be hidden by default. To uncover them:

  • Swipe down twice from the top of your phone’s screen.
  • Tap the pencil-shaped icon in the lower left corner of the quick settings window. If you’re using a phone other than a Pixel, you may need to tap a three-line menu icon and look for an “Edit” command there instead.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the list and look for the tiles labeled Camera Access, Microphone Access, and Location.
  • Press and hold each tile in turn for a second, then slide your finger up to move them to the active area of ​​your quick settings panel. The higher you go, the higher it will appear in the list.

The new toggle switches for camera, microphone and location access can easily be moved ...

The new toggle switches for camera, microphone and location access can easily be moved …

... in the active and visible area of ​​the Android quick settings panel.

… in the active and visible area of ​​the Android quick settings panel.

Once you have all three in place, just tap the arrow in the top left corner of the screen. The quick change switches are now present and accessible in your regular quick settings area. And all you need is a quick swipe down and a tap on the right tile to instantly disable any associated sensor.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here