Google cracks down on power-user apps that use Android's accessibility API

Google Assistant seems to be arriving really soon for tablets
     
     
       By Ida Torres

Google Assistant seems to be arriving really soon for tablets By Ida Torres

While it may be possible for some developers to recreate key features of their apps in a way that avoids the improper use of accessibility services, they will undoubtedly struggle to do so within such a tight window of time. Although, the question that remain is how well does UC Browser fare against Google Chrome?

If a user grants an app accessibility permission, they are allowing it to have a relatively invasive level of access to data on the phone and from within apps, which would generally be used to provide things such as text-to-speech. Their latest target is apps misusing Android's accessibility features, which are created to help people with impairments to use Android devices.

Google's new policy will hurt a large swath of power-user apps. Then there is the fact that only 0.3% of Android users have a device running Android 8.0 meaning that Google will need to provide some alternative rather than just pulling the apps. In addition, it is the sixth most downloaded Android app in India.

With the accessibility API, apps can access lots of powerful commands that let them function a bit like a system-level app, and the legitimate, non-accessibility uses are nearly endless.

Google cracks down on power-user apps that use Android's accessibility API

Google's new policy of only allowing the accessibility API for accessibility purposes definitely seems to be new, as many of these apps are years old and have existed in the Play Store without issue. Developers have 30 days to meet accessibility services usage requirements.

DO NOT use the Malicious Promotion method (s) or STOP such behavior immediately if you are acting so. Clicking on a button and changing the focus are examples of AccessibilityEvents. The browser is the go-to app for low-end Android phones.

It's understandable that Google would want to put a lid on the accessibility APIs in Android, but they already require a good amount of work from the user in order to enable.


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