AndroidHow To

How to add two Android 12 privacy features hidden by default

Have you ever sat around with a friend and just talked about something like a Buick Roadmaster, something that you would never ever talk about, and then a few days later, just enough to not be completely suspicious of being eavesdropped upon, you find out that you’re now getting advertising about what you talked about?

TL;DR – mic and camera access. Downswipe notification 2x, hit+, add.

Android 12 now has methods to tell you when the microphone or camera is in use (a little camera or a microphone will pop up in the top right, followed by minimizing to a dot,) but that only really works for privacy if you’re actively looking at your phone. What if you want to put earmuff or blinders on your phone and leave it on the table? This is based on my G

At least on my S21 Ultra on T-Mobile, Samsung’s device, the new Android 12 option to disable the mic and cameras is not shown by default. In order to get the ability to shut them off you have to go through the process of sending me $3.50 and… oh wait, no, you just swipe down from the top twice and choose the (+) icon and add Camera Access and Microphone Access.

Android 12 Microphone Access

While I’ve not done a whole lot of testing, I have found that if you get a phone call you’re prompted to turn on Microphone access. I’d hope on a Zoom call, similar popups would occur but yeah, I’m not getting on a video call if I don’t have to.

Whether you believe that you’re now safe at the OS level from malicious apps listening in on your Buick Roadmaster conversation, or you think that advertisers will use the accelerometer to listen to you since it’s potentially a no-permissions-required omnidirectional microphone when used in the right/wrong way and you read that one article about it, it’s at least a start to something that should have been in the OS since Android 4.

You can still send me $3.50 if you want however.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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