Security

How to manage app permissions on a Ubuntu Phone

Ubuntu Phone users should immediately familiarize themselves with app permissions. Jack Wallen explains what you need to know.

ubuntuhero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

App permissions has been a hot button issue with Android. It wasn't until the latest iteration of the platform (Marshmallow, 6.0) that users were able to take control of app permissions without having to install a third-party app or root their device.

SEE: Android Marshmallow: The smart person's guide

Out of the starting gate, the Ubuntu Phone gives the user full control over their app permissions as well as what has access to their various accounts. Believe it or not, it's quite easy to work with.

Note: I'll be demonstrating this on a Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition, which is a masterful leap ahead of the BQ Aquaris E5.

To get to the App Permissions section, open the System Settings by swiping right from the left edge of the screen. When the Launcher opens (Figure A), tap the Settings icon (the gear in a circle).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

The Launcher shown on the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition.

From the System Settings page, scroll down and tap Security & Privacy. Within this page, tap the App Permissions entry — you'll see two main sections:

  • Apps that you have granted access to services
  • Online Accounts

Granting/revoking permissions

Out of the box, you'll see four services that apps can be granted permission for:

  • Camera
  • Location
  • Microphone
  • In-App Purchases

From the main page, you'll see how many apps have been granted permission for the service. Tap on the service, and then you can enable/disable the app permission (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

uNav with permission to access the Location service on the device.

Account permissions

Let's look at how easy it is to grant or revoke permissions for online accounts. From the App Permissions window, tap the Online Accounts button at the bottom of the page. In the next window you'll see all of the online accounts you have added. Tap one of those accounts to reveal which apps have been granted access to that account's data (Figure C). From here, you can grant or revoke that access with a single tap.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Online account access is simple to revoke within Ubuntu Touch.

It's that easy

The Ubuntu Touch developers have done an outstanding job of making it simple for users to control app permissions and online account access. Anyone should be able to command control over this important security issue.

And if this is any indicator of how the Ubuntu Touch will continue to improve, Canonical might have something special on its hands...eventually. Until then, keep developing!

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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