How to Access and Manage Windows 10 App Permissions

What is an app permission, anyway?

The Messaging App Permission Screen in Windows 10 Settings.

The typical Windows application you download and install from the Internet has access to just about your entire system, but applications you install from the Windows Store can be set to just request the permissions they need. These app permissions help keep your system safe and protect your privacy. Here's an explanation of what Windows 10 app permissions are, and how to manage them.

What is an App Permission?

An app permission is a setting that allows a program to access a specific feature of your device. This could be a hardware feature (e.g. your GPS to determine location) or software subsystem (such as your Calendar or Picture Library). Microsoft lists all the different permissions available in a Windows 10 system, although most are self-explanatory.

How to Access App Permissions for An Installed App

It's important to know which apps are using which permissions. While apps that don't have the permissions they need will ask for them, there may be apps with permissions they don't need. It's a good habit to keep an eye on these and revoke them if they're not really needed.

  1. Find and right-click the app you want in the Start Menu.

  2. Select More.

    An Apps Permissions Are Available from Its App Settings Screen
  3. Select App Settings.

  4. This will display a the app's options in the Windows Settings tool. The screen includes a section listing all the permissions the app requires, as well as whether it's enabled or disabled for each one.

    The App Settings Includes a Section Displaying App Permissions.

    You can also get here by opening Settings, select Apps & Features, select an app, then select Advanced Options.

  5. That's it!

How to Manage System-Wide App Permissions

The controls in Windows Settings give you a way to turn permissions on and off either on a global basis, or per application.

  1. Open the Start Menu, then select the gear icon to launch Windows Settings, or press Win+i.

  2. Select Privacy.

    The Windows Settings Privacy Screen Contains App Permissions
  3. In the left menu, the items in this category are divided into Windows Permissions and App Permissions. Scroll down and select any of the App Permissions, and you'll find two things (as shown in the above screenshot):

    • A toggle switch to turn that permission on or off for all apps.
    • A toggle switch to change the permission for each app.
    The Microphone App Settings Screen Contains Global and Per-App Switches.

    There are some applications that will always have access to a particular feature, regardless of your settings. The Calendar app, for example, will always have access to Calendar-related resources, and therefore will always have that permission.

  4. Select the appropriate toggle switch to enable or disable a permission for a particular app. If you happen to turn on one of the permissions while the app is already open, you may need to restart it for the setting to take effect.

App Permissions and Installing from the Windows Store

It's worth noting that apps don't actually ask for permissions during download from the Windows Store, and instead install regardless of whether or not they have the permissions they need.

If you turn off the permissions for specific software or hardware, then install an app that needs either, the app will only ask for permission when you launch it. Simply turn the permission back on and restart the app, and it will work as expected thereafter.

Apps Will Request Permissions They Need But Don't Have.