Google details new runtime permissions in more secure Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The company is showing developers how easy it is to ask for app permissions when running an app. Don't get too excited yet: It will take time to update apps and get Android 6.0 on your device.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Worried that some Android apps will spy on you through the microphone or camera on your handset? After Android 6.0 debuts, you'll have one less worry.

When Google's new mobile platform, dubbed Marshmallow, debuts later this year the system will let developers add runtime permissions to their apps.

Essentially, instead of showing all app permission requirements at the time install -- the current system -- permissions can appear at the appropriate time when running a mobile app; similar to how iOS functions.

Mobile app permissions: Who does it right?

Google announced this change at its Google I/O Developer event in May and shared additional programmatic details about it on Thursday

"Runtime permissions give your app the ability to control when and with what context you'll ask for permissions. This means that users installing your app from Google Play will not be required to accept a list of permissions before installing your app, making it easy for users to get directly into your app. It also means that if your app adds new permissions, app updates will not be blocked until the user accepts the new permissions. Instead, your app can ask for the newly added runtime permissions as needed."

To help developers, Google has created a site of best practices for when to pose the permissions question as well as how denied permissions should be handled.

Additionally, Google says it might be easier to use Android's current intents system in some cases. Why create a new Camera app or function if a similar one is already installed and has user permissions to access the camera sensor?

Google says the new runtime permissions will be available for apps with Android API level 23 running on Android 6.0 (or better) devices.

So even after Marshmallow officially debuts later this year -- likely with a pair of Nexus phones to showcase it -- don't expect to see the new permissions right away.

Not only will it take time for developers to implement the changes, but you'll have to wait for your phone or tablet to get the Android 6.0 software update; something that could take us well into 2016 for some devices.

Editorial standards