Android 13 beta includes an important new privacy protection

With the release of the first public beta of Android 13, anyone with a compatible Pixel smartphone can download the next version of Android and test it out for themselves.

Scheduled for release later this summer, Android 13 is built around Google’s core themes of privacy and security, developer productivity, and support for tablets and large screens, according to a new post. from the company’s vice president of engineering, Dave Burke.

There have already been two developer previews of Android 13 which showcased new features including support for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) audio, a new photo picker, new app theme options and a new permission designed to reduce the number of notifications that appear on Android smartphones.

Following feedback from the first public beta of Android 13, we’ll likely learn more about Google’s full plans for the update at the annual Google I/O developer conference in May.

To help protect against apps accessing photos, audio, and other media on your smartphone for no good reason, Google is introducing more granular permissions for media file access in Android 13.

Previously, when an app wanted to play media files shared on your device’s local storage, it would ask for the READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission which gave it access to all types of media files. Now in the Android 13 public beta, Google is introducing a new set of permissions with more granular scope to access shared media files according to Burke’s blog post.

Going forward, applications will now use READ_MEDIA_IMAGES for images and photos, READ_MEDIA_VIDEO for videos, and READ_MEDIA_AUDIO for audio files. When a user grants any of these permissions to an app, the app will only have read access to the respective media file types.

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However, to simplify the experience for end users, if an app requests permissions to access images and videos from a device at the same time, Android 13 will display a single dialog box to grant both permissions.

Restricting access to media files in this way could help protect your privacy by preventing apps from accessing additional files they don’t necessarily need to function.

By the edge

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