With a new update in the Play Store application policy, Google strengthens privacy on Android. Google has decided that the applications we use are private and will not allow any app to access that list.
From May 5, 2021, Google will restrict developers from having access to the list of applications installed on the device. However, there will be temporary exceptions for banking apps and digital wallets.
According to the development page dedicated to this topic, the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission command, which is the one used by applications to access said list, will be restricted to some applications.
“Permitted use involves apps that must discover any and all installed apps on the device, for awareness or interoperability purposes may have eligibility for the permission. Permitted use includes; device search, antivirus apps, file managers, and browsers.”
Knowing which applications users have installed can be very valuable to developers. This information can be used for various purposes ranging from improving apps to selling them to data analysis companies.
In that sense, all applications that use API level 30, for Android 11 or higher devices, will not be able to access the permission QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES, which provides access to the list of all installed apps. Google promises to be strict with its new policies to strengthen privacy on Android.