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We’re wrapping up our series on security best practices by examining a topic that’s particularly important for mobile document security: App Store Permissions. App permissions are a form of end-user license agreement (EULA), which is a legal contract between a software licensor and the purchaser or user of the application. EULAs are also sometimes informally referred to as “click-through agreements.”
You’ve probably clicked through EULAs before in order to gain permission to use certain software and apps—but have you really thought about what you’re agreeing to, and whether your data stays safe if you grant permissions to app developers? With this in mind, let’s learn more about what App Store Permissions are, and why you should care about them in relation to maintaining security on your mobile device.
While you may be eager to have the app installed, it’s important to think about the permissions that you’re granting if you choose to accept these pop-up prompts. It’s not always easy to determine exactly what type of permission you’d be allowing since the legalese can be tough to wade through and understand. You should think carefully about whether you want to grant the permission since it may mean that the app will forever have a green light to use your data or whatever you’ve agreed to. The examples below of typical permissions will help you evaluate this question.
There are a wide variety of permissions that you may see, but here are some of the ones you’ll encounter most frequently:
As we briefly discussed in the first post in this series, WPS Office comes equipped with a permissions system for individual apps permissions that adds another layer of security, whether you are using Android or iOS.
iPhone/iPad handles apps permissions a bit differently than Android does. On iOS, you allow basic permissions (like Internet access) by default simply by installing an app, but you’ll receive requests for permission for the app to use specific features from location and photos to contacts to calendars and more, and you can accept or decline these. On iOS devices, you can manage permissions for a single app via your Settings screen. From there, you should be able to scroll down and see your list of apps at the bottom. You can see the permissions that the app wants just by tapping the app, and then allow or disallow permissions for individual apps.
Android apps must request permission to perform most functions, whether reading your USB storage or gaining access to your location data via GPS. On an Android, you can check app permissions by going to Settings, then Apps. Tap the app you want to check, and look at the bottom of the page to see if specific permissions have been granted. While you can’t turn on and off these options, you do have the choice to uninstall the app (tap Uninstall) and that will remove it from your phone.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to accept or decline app permissions comes down to a basic issue of trust. Like all forms of technology, permissions can be abused, so it’s important that you ensure your apps have come from the App Store or other reputable developer before blindly accepting permissions requests.