What to Expect From Android Q: Privacy Controls
With Android Q coming out pretty soon, you’re bound to find yourself wondering what changes are coming along with it. While it is still a little too early to discuss all major changes in Google’s mobile OS, we do know that Android Q contains a lot of improvements regarding user privacy. Sure, privacy may not be the most exciting thing that comes to your mind when considering future Android updates, but it is a very important aspect of how you interact with your phone. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what new privacy features Android Q has to offer.
More Local AI Processing
If you’re at least somewhat familiar with modern technologies that power tools such as Google Assistant, you know that they’re largely reliant on AI to analyze huge sets of data and come to the right conclusion for every use scenario. Currently, the data collected on your phone is being sent to Google cloud servers for processing, which is seen as an unnecessary privacy invasion by some users. In Android Q, this task is largely delegated to your phone’s processor, eliminating the need for your data to be transferred to the global servers.
Better Device ID Protection
Your phone has two unique numbers that can be used to distinctly identify it: the serial number and IMEI. In case with all previous Android versions, app developers automatically receive access to these numbers once you have installed their product on your phone. However, Android Q restricts access to these unique identificators and requires developers to explicitly ask for the user’s permission to view them. This way, you’ll always know if an app is reading your phone’s IDs and are able to control external access to this information.
Say Goodbye to Ranked Contacts
Some people may actually find this annoying, as Ranked Contacts is a pretty convenient feature. Currently, most apps that have the “Share” feature track your sharing actions and the collected data is processed to create a list of your most frequent interactions. These contacts are then presented at the top of the sharing menu for your convenience. Upgrading to Android Q will disable the tracking of your interactions with people in your contacts and render the creation of such lists impossible, but at least you’ll know that app developers no longer have access to this chunk of your personal data.
Protect Your Location Data
In Android Q you can choose between allowing an app to constantly track your location (which is the only option available right now) or only letting it read your location when the app is being used. This may seem like a small change but it’s actually a huge step towards restricting the easy availability of location data that’s typical for today’s Android devices.
Android Q Takes Your Privacy A Lot More Seriously
Google has already made claims of focusing on user privacy, and it is nice to see them being backed by actions. Local data processing and restricted access to the user’s location seem to be the most important features, but your device’s IMEI and interactions with your contacts are also bits of data worth protecting.