AndroidAppsGood and EVO

PSA: App ops no longer works in Android 4.4.2

App ops force closeAfter all of Google’s awesome Android news from earlier today, here’s one piece of disappointing news: it looks like the hidden but useful App Ops feature is dead on arrival in Android 4.4.2. If you recall, App Ops was a hidden feature introduced in Android 4.3 that let you selectively disable permissions for your apps with absolutely no root required.

The only caveat was that it was hidden deep within Android, not accessible through the standard settings menu. Instead, you needed to download an app that would act as a shortcut, use a launcher that allowed you launch custom activities, or use an app like QuickShortcutMaker to make a shortcut to this activity on your homescreen. Unfortunately, it seemingly disappeared completely from Android 4.4, until a developer found a way to access to the shortcut and wrapped it in a nice app to download.

But now, not even that works. Attempting to access App Ops in Android 4.4.2 is met with the force close you see on the right. It looks like Google is really trying to restrict access to this, perhaps to appease angry app developers, or maybe in an attempt to get people from messing around with stuff that they’re not too familiar with.

The developer of the shortcut that was working on Android 4.4 and Android 4.4.1 says, “We are working on a fix, but there are no guarantees yet.” That doesn’t sound too promising.

Granted, this feature is still accessible by root users, but the appeal of App Ops was that anyone could use it – rooted or not. There’s still hope that a way might be found to access this again, or that Google inadvertently did something to break this not on purpose, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

For now, if you want access to this, rooting is the only way.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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4 thoughts on “PSA: App ops no longer works in Android 4.4.2

  • Avatar of JRDEMASKUS

    Why should the developers be mad that we can choose permissions? Most of the apps I do not try are because the permissions seem over reaching. Therefore, I have very few apps installed.
    It would seem “rooting” is a badge users carry like I do my Unlimited ATT Data plan.
    If so many users root,(according to their forum tags), what is the need for Google to lock out a feature available to root users?

    Reply
    • Sure, a lot of power users root, but the vast majority of regular, everyday Android users remain unrooted. And you just touched on exactly why developers don’t want the vast majority of Android users to be able to pick permissions – if you install an app but then disable all of the permissions that allow it to deliver advertising, for example, the developer is losing out. Unfortunately, it seems like if you’re not rooted, you’re losing more and more control over your device.

      Reply
      • Avatar of JRDEMASKUS

        Publicly, I don’t know anyone who knows anything advanced about the device they are using. They all might as well be using iPhones. So you are probably correct. Root users should know what they are doing, and if they don’t, don’t root.
        And the OS lockdowns seem to be more corporate security type issues, with some of them affecting the average user. But then the average user wasn’t choosing permissions for individual apps either.
        I am not rooted. I want the “Out of Box” experience, and to learn how to resolve issues or find workarounds I can possibly share with average users when relevant. Problem is, average users are not reading either.

        Reply

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