How to toggle app permissions in Android Marshmallow

Managing app permissions gets a lot easier in Android Marshmallow. Here's what you need to know.

android m app permissions

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In Android Marshmallow, Google totally revamped how you manage app permissions: It’s a change that’s apparent every time you download an app from Google Play. You’ll get a new, more detailed permissions notice—but it goes much deeper than that.

Don’t want Chrome to be able to see your location? Not a problem. With Android Marshmallow, You can pick and choose what sorts of information and which system resources any given app can access. Here’s how to find and use this new feature.

Open the Settings app, then tap Apps under the Device subheading. Next, tap the Gear icon in the upper-right corner, and then tap App permissions on the following screen. From here, you’ll get a list of all the sensors, information, and other features of your phone that apps can access. Tap on any of these to see which apps can get at that particular feature. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ll take a look and see which apps can access my phone’s camera and snap photos, so I’ll tap Camera.

per feature permissions

Here you can see every app that can use your phone’s camera.

To revoke an app’s permission, tap the toggle switch to flip it to the Off position—it’ll switch from blue-green to gray. To re-grant permission, simply tap the toggle switch again.

By default, you’ll only see apps here, not Android system services. To see which system services have permission to access something, tap the Options button—those three dots in the upper right—then tap Show system.

per app permissions

Viewing permissions on a per-app basis.

If you prefer to view permissions on a per-app basis rather than a per-feature basis, go to Settings > Apps, tap an app’s name, then tap App permissions. From there, you’ll be able to see what features and information that particular app can access, and toggle permissions accordingly.

google play permissions

Google Play’s permissions alert in Android Marshmallow. Tap the downward-pointing arrows to get more information on what each means.

When you download an app from Google Play, you’ll get a message that explains the permissions an app requires, just as it has before, but it’ll now provide a little more information on the privacy implications. Unfortunately, most Android apps still don’t specifically say how they’re going to use your information up front, but Android Marshmallow’s improved permissions features do make it easier to make sense of what had been a confusing state of affairs.

Note that some applications haven't been adjusted to account for Android's new pick-and-choose permission model. You can still toggle individual permissions, but it could cause those apps to behave weirdly or not work at all. If you have an app that isn't working right, you may want to revisit its permissions.

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