Google has introduced a new Play Store policy that restricts access to the conversation history and text messages by Android apps. In the future, only standard apps will be able to access this data.
In its announcement Google explains that it refers to apps that users have set as their default app, for example for making phone calls or sending SMS messages. Until now it was possible that different apps asked for these permissions. Developers have ninety days to adjust their apps to the policy change. Google announces that it will come up with “additional controls” in the coming months.
In a separate document Google explains that developers only use the SMS and call log “make use of permissions if this is necessary for the main functionality of their app. That means that the app would not work without this permission. There are exceptions, for example, if there are no other options for arriving at the desired data. For example, a synchronization app may read and receive text messages.
In other cases it is not permitted, such as account verification, sending invitations or sharing material.