How to Manage Android App Permissions

Personalize your Android settings to protect your privacy

Starting with Android 10, the ways you grant permissions to apps have more granularity in Android smartphone settings. You can see Android permissions by app, by type, as well as more easily control the information Google collects from you. In most cases, you can allow or deny, but some permissions have a third option: only while using the app.

These instructions apply to Android 10, 9.0 (Pie), and 8.0 (Oreo).

How to Access Permission Settings

There are three ways to navigate to the permission manager. The first option is by going to the Advanced settings under Apps & notifications.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications.

  3. Tap Advanced > Permission Manager. You'll see a list of permissions with details below each one—for example, Body sensors (0 of 2 apps allowed).

    Android permission settings.
  4. Tap any permission to see what it means. Apps with Body sensor permissions can access sensor data about your vital signs.

  5. Underneath are two sections: Allowed and Denied. Tap an app name to Allow or Deny permissions.

    Android permission settings.
  6. On that screen, you can also tap to see all permission settings for that app.

  7. Go back to the Permissions Manager. Tap Location, find Google Maps (or another navigation app), and you'll see three options instead of two: Allowed, Denied, and Allowed only while in use.

    Google Maps location permissions.

Get to Permissions Settings By Viewing All Apps

Another method is by going to your all apps page in settings.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications.

    Android permission settings.
  3. At the top of this screen are recently used apps. Tap See all apps to get the full list.

    It will also say how many apps you have—for example, See all 57 apps.

  4. Tap an app, then tap Permissions to view that information.

  5. As above, you'll see an Allowed and Denied section. Tap an item to change the permissions. Tap See all apps with this permission to see an overview.

    Android permission settings.
  6. Tap an app to change permissions.

Get to Permissions Settings Via Privacy Settings

Finally, the fastest way is by going to your privacy settings.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Privacy > Permission manager.

  3. Tap a permission, such as Calendar or Camera, to allow or deny permissions by app.

    Android privacy settings.

How to View Special App Access

Android also has special app access settings. You'd rarely need to play around with these, and some are available in an app's settings. These include Tap & pay (mobile payments) and Unrestricted data.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications.

  3. Tap Advanced.

    Android permission settings.
  4. Scroll down and tap Special app access.

  5. You'll see a list of lesser-known permissions such as Battery optimization, Device admin apps, Do Not Disturb access, and Picture-in-picture.

  6. Tap a permission to see which apps have it enabled, then tap an app to toggle the permission on or off.

    Android special access permission settings.

How to Limit Activity Tracking From Google

Google tracks a lot of your activity, some of it to provide you better service or suggestions based on places you've visited, websites you've navigated to, YouTube videos you've watched, as well as personalized ads. It's easy to limit or turn off these permissions if you prefer.

  1. Open Settings > Privacy > Advanced

    Google activity tracking.
  2. Tap Google location history.

  3. Choose a Google account.

  4. Toggle Location History on or off.

    Google activity tracking.
  5. Scroll down and tap All Activity Controls to see all of Google's activity tracking.

    You can also get to Activity Controls from the previous screen.

  6. You can enable or disable Google's ability to collect web and app activity, location history, and YouTube history. 

    Google activity tracking.
  7. Scroll down to Ad personalization and tap Go to Ad Settings to turn this function on or off. This screen also has an explanation of how Google personalizes ads, including personal information you've added to your Google account. You can also see which companies are serving you ads based on visits to their websites.

  8. Finally, there's a list of categories from Athletic Apparel to Books & Literature to Fast Food. You can turn each one on or off; when on, Google estimates your interests based on Google and YouTube searches.