Google to remove popular apps that use accessibility services
Google has issued a warning to a number of developers, questioning them on how they are using accessibility services and APIs in their applications.
The developers of multiple apps has received mails from Google. Google has asked them to clarify the usage of accessibility services for functions that are not intended for disabled people.
Some applications using these services include Battery Saver, LastPass, Universal Copy, Cerberus, Split-screen creator, Tasker, Clipboard Actions, and several others.
The Google Play Support team has requested developers to submit their clarifications within the duration of 30 days. If the clarification is not submitted the developers would be facing action.
The move was attempted to clamp down on apps that present a security risk. The move was began by the California-based tech giant.
There are the services that developers could misuse for activities likekeylogging, ransomware attacks, and phishing.
This means a number of apps that Android users are accustomed to, may be exiting the Google Play Store, unfortunately.
Both the users of app and android developers were surprised at the new developments, considering the fact that several such apps have flourished for years sans any intervention from Google.
Accessibility services are the backbone of several applications which require those permissions for their functionality, and the change in rules could be the end of the line for those applications.
However, they could offer the apps externally as an APK file. But app usage would definitely face a dip if listed on external websites only.
The move started by Google is understandable. It is threatening the removal of some of the most used and innovative apps on the Play Store.
The mails stated,
“We’re contacting you because your app, BatterySaver System Shortcut, with package name com.floriandraschbacher.batterysaver.free is requesting the ‘android.permission.BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE.’ Apps requesting accessibility services should only be used to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps. Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy.”
While concerning the required action it stated,
If you are not already doing so, you must be explaining to users how your app is using the ‘android.permission.BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE’ to assist users with disabilities use Android devices and applications. Apps that fail to fulfill this requirement within 30 days might be removed from Google Play. You can alternatively remove any requests for accessibility services within your application.
The email has been wrapped up by the support team adding that if the developers do not follow the rules, they were all free to unpublish their apps.