If you are a privacy or security paranoid but lack technical savvy to tweak your device and banish the privacy-intrusive apps from sneaking into your private data, you can use this little trick. APK Permission Remover is a free Android app with a long track record of happy users. You do not need to be an app developer to use it, although caution is advised, and I will explain why in two minutes.
Download from Google Play Free version | Paid version $2
First things first, this app does not require root. Hence, any Android device can enjoy its magic. However, according to some reports on Google Play, it has some issues with Android Marshmallow.
Easy to use
The app is easy to use. It may need a visual overhaul badly as it seems to be stuck in the early days of Android. But we won’t be using it for its looks, if for its functionality. Launch the app, and see how it lets you either edit the permissions of any APK file you have in your storage, or any app you have installed on your device.
If you choose to edit the permissions in an APK file, the process is straightforward – tap the APK (you will need to find it using the APK Permission Remover file browser). The app will open up a window, similar to the ones you see on Google Play when you view the app permissions. Only this time you will have the power to change that green check next to a permission to a red cross, and banish the app from, say, auto-starting at device boot. Tap edit and install, and APK Permission Remover will complete the job – edit the permissions, and launch the app installation. You will be presented with a window with the edited app permissions, which you need to agree to. Once the installation completes, you can launch the app.
Works on apps installed from Google Play
If you want to edit the permissions of an app you installed from Google Play or Amazon, and don’t have the APK, don’t worry. APK Permission Remover “can see” the apk pf the apps you installed from the official play store. To edit these apps, APK Permission Remover will first uninstall them, and then install with permissions edited. You won’t need to leave the app to perform all those tasks – the app generates the required buttons on a single window, so you just tap “uninstall,” then “install,” agree to new permissions and open.
Proceed with caution
That is not to say the app is harmless or a solution to all your woes. Caution and careful treatment is advised. I would not touch any permission that has “Google” in its name, as it may render the newly edited app dysfunctional. Likewise, I would not recommend you to select too many permissions in a single go. That way, you will not know which permission you just removed broke the edited app.
Start small. For example, I recently installed a free game from APKMirror, and chose to deny it the access to my device’s microphone and camera. The game runs flawless, but when I finally realized I needed the camera permission to scan some real world stuff to earn me some bonus points, the game said woops, can not access the camera. That’s ironic, but not that of a problem. My point is to go slowly with the permissions. Denying an app the access to the microphone or camera is unlikely to break it, as is the case of denying it the permission to auto-launch at device boot.
You can also try your hand at denying an app the permission to send SMS messages, or reading your contact data.
In my experience, the app works best with APK files as opposed to installed apps from Google Play – your mileage may vary. However, do not go ticking all check boxes with red crosses, and then complain the edited apps won’t work. Some permissions are there for a legitimate reason. CCleaner, for example, needs to clean cache, but it requires so many permissions I am beginning to wonder if I need it at all.
Finally, the app comes in two versions – free and paid, worth $2. The difference is in the ads – the free version has them. The paid version also lets you remove sections in the app manifest. The app is not a newcomer to Android, yet it’s supported by the developer, and the recent update dates back to April 2nd, 2016. Some users claim APK Permissions Remover can remedy the problem of uninstalling especially sticky apps, the ones that take admin privileges and refuse to uninstall.
One other thing that may be worth mentioning is APK Permission Remover does not work its magic on system apps. But you could disable the unnecessary bloatware from your device’s system settings, that is, if you do not plan to use them.
If APK Permissions Remover does not run on your Marshmallow-powered device, try App Cloner we covered recently. This one lets you clone certain apps, and edit their permissions, among other things.
One final pro tip, if you wish to block some intrusive apps from sending some secret data about your device activity in stealth mode, just ban them from accessing the Internet by installing a firewall app. Choose one from our list of firewall apps for Android that let you block individual apps from accessing the Internet (no root required), and never worry about a cache cleaning app religiously sending your personally identifiable data to some server in China, as turned out the case with QQ Browser, Baidu and UC Browser.
Have you tried any of the app permissions editors, yet? Share your experience in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow PocketMeta for more Android and iOS guides, tips and tricks, apps and games reviews and handpicked roundups of everything mobile.