Google is making some changes to its developer program policy that would prohibit the use of high-risk or sensitive permissions by any app, including access to a list of apps installed on Android devices. In simple words, no app will be allowed to access the app inventory installed on Android devices unless it requires that it perform its core user-facing functionality. Google states that if a developer’s app does not meet the requirements for acceptable use, they must remove it from the app’s disclosure to comply with the new policy.
According to a post by Google on its Play Console console support page, the changes to the developer program policy will come into effect on May 5. The company says this has been done because Google Play is concerned with “device inventory of installed apps as a queried user’s device personal and sensitive information.”
This can be seen as another step towards strengthening user privacy measures. For example, this mandatory change will make it harder for apps to spy on which apps are installed on your phone. App inventory in Android devices can be used for targeted advertisements or for malicious purposes.
As noted, if a developer’s app does not meet the requirements for acceptable use of app inventory, they must remove it from the app’s appearance. If the application meets the policy requirements for acceptable use of inventory, they are required to declare high-risk permissions using the declaration form in the Play console.