Android 13 update adds a new set of privacy and security features

Android already restricts apps’ access to the clipboard and notifies users when apps get content from it. But Android 13 adds another layer by automatically deleting anything in the clipboard after a short interval. That way, apps can’t figure out what you’re copying of old content, and — bonus — you’re less likely to inadvertently share with your boss a list of reasons coworkers hate your company. Android 13 also continues to reduce the ability for apps to ask for location sharing, such as enabling Wi-Fi.

Android 13 requires new apps to ask for permission before sending you a notification. The new version expands on a feature of Android 11 that automatically resets an app’s permissions once you haven’t used it for a long time. Since its debut, Google has extended the feature to devices running Android 6, and the operating system has now automatically reset more than 5 billion permissions, according to the company. That way, games you no longer play that had access to the microphone three years ago are still unavailable. Android 13 makes it easier for app developers to proactively remove permissions if they don’t want to keep access longer than they absolutely need to.

Ensuring that the world’s Android devices get security updates has been a core hurdle for Google, as Android’s open-source ethos allows any manufacturer to deploy their own version of the operating system. To improve the situation, the company has spent years investing in a framework called Google System Updates, which breaks down the operating system into components and allows phone makers to send updates for different modules directly through Google Play. There are now more than 30 of these components, and Android 13 adds components for Bluetooth and Ultra Wideband, the radio technology used in devices like radar at short distances.

Google is working to reduce common vulnerabilities that can appear in software by rewriting some key parts of the Android codebase in a more secure programming language like Rust and creating defaults to push developers toward using their own apps. Safer direction development. The company is also working to improve the security of its application programming interfaces and has begun offering a new service called the Google Play SDK Index, which provides some transparency into widely used software development kits, so developers can Get more information before integrating these 3rd party modules into their applications.

as Apple’s iOS Privacy Tab, Android recently added a “Data Safe” field to Google Play, giving users a kind of Nutrition Facts label explaining how the app handles your data. But in practice, these types of disclosures aren’t always reliable, so Google offers developers the option to have third parties independently verify their claims against established mobile security standards. However, the process remains voluntary.

“We provide developers with all these tools to make their applications more secure, but importantly, they can actually prove and verify this with an independent third party (a group of labs that test against established standards),” Eugene Liderman said, Android Security Policy.

Both Android and Apple’s iOS are moving toward providing the ability to store government-issued identification. In Android 13, Google Wallet can now store such digital IDs and driver’s licenses, and Google says it’s working with individual U.S. states and governments around the world to add support this year.

With so much to focus on and improve, Android 13 tries to take a huge situation and keep it under control, not let it get out of hand. Android’s D’Silva says there’s a release later this year that she’s particularly looking forward to: a kind of Security Center in Settings that will bring privacy and security options together in one place for users. Perhaps an admission that it all becomes too much for the average user to keep track of on their own.

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