Android 12: how the privacy panel works

In my first impressions of Android 12, I highlighted privacy as one of the most important features of Google’s new operating system. And since transparency is such a big part of Android 12, in this article I’ll explore how you can use the privacy panel. can use better.

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privacy dashboard

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You know better which apps can use your location. / © NextPit

The privacy panel is a new option that has been built into the system in Android 12. Here you can easily check which apps have recently accessed permissions like camera, location, and microphone. This way it is much easier to see how many times an application has had to use such components. You can also revoke permissions from this screen.

To do this, simply access the Android 12 system settings:

  1. opens system settings
  2. Navigate to option privacy
  3. Open the privacy section
privacy panel android 12

In the settings, you have more control over apps that abuse access rights on the phone. / © NextPit

Under Privacy, you can check which apps have accessed what in the last 24 hours. Correctly understood, the system offers a schedule for each approval. On this screen you will also see a shortcut to permission settings for each service, from files and media to sensors.

In this way, you can quickly determine which applications are using the resources of your smartphone. And if abuse is detected, previously granted permissions for a service can be revoked. In addition, it will be possible to quickly disable some system functions through the quick access toolbar.

quick access bar

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System features such as the microphone and camera can be disabled via quick access tiles. / © NextPit

Further optimization of privacy can be found in shortcuts for system functions in Android 12. In addition to location, access to the camera and microphone can now also be quickly blocked. Simply follow the path below:

  1. Swipe your finger twice from top to bottom quick access bar
  2. Tap the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the quick settings panel (this step may vary depending on the smartphone model)
  3. Look for the shortcuts Location, microphone access Y camera access and moves it to the Quick Settings panel
  4. After that, just click on the appropriate option to block or unblock access
Android 12 blocks

This is how access is revoked / © NextPit

Use of system resources.

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Access to the camera and microphone is quickly recognized. / © NextPit

In addition to the above options, Android 12 will display a system resource usage warning in the notification bar when an app is using the phone’s camera or microphone. If a service uses location, the situation is different. In this case, the location icon will appear in the notification bar, as it is today in Android 11.

Once activated, the camera or microphone usage indicator will quickly display an icon for the feature being used. However, it soon changes to a little green dot, on the right side of the notification bar. This dot means that an application uses a system function. If you see the green dot, do the following:

  1. Swipe your finger twice from top to bottom notification bar
  2. The dot takes the shape of the icon of the function being used: camera or microphone.
  3. Touch the icon of the component you are using and a popup will show which app is requesting access.

From here you can access the information of the app in question and, where appropriate, remove its access permissions.

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A green dot in the notification bar indicates the use of mobile resources. / © NextPit

private computing core

Based on recent rumours, we assume that Google could present the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro models on September 13, so Android 12 is just around the corner. As we already know, the sixth generation of the Pixel range is manufactured with the new and exclusive Google processor: the Tensor.

Key features of this SoC include a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and data protection ensured by the integration of the Titan M2 module.

On the software side, we have “Android Private Compute Core” technology that processes personal data in Android 12 directly on the phone. This gives us a secure partition in the system, similar to the one used to store passwords and biometrics, that focuses on data processing for AI and ML functions. This means that the data remains private and is still available to system-level functions.

And thus assume functions such as Live subtitles, smart playback either playing now all audio, content and voice processing on the device itself. They are isolated from the network to protect user privacy. This allows you to receive suggestions privately based on your interactions with people, apps, and content.

How can we ensure this? When the smartphone stores information to make personalized suggestions, it is encrypted before being stored. Therefore, the smartphone does not store any information used for personalized suggestions in your Google account. The exception is the information used for app suggestions, because if you switch phones, the system can still recommend apps.

In this way, all information is encrypted when the backup is created. In addition, the protection mechanisms of the Private Compute Core are open source and accessible to the entire security community. This feature can also be accessed directly from System Preferences:

  1. Open the system settings
  2. Navigated to Privacy > Private computing core
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Private computing core: every time the phone saves information to make personalized suggestions, it is encrypted before saving it. / © NextPit

Here you can see what information is stored directly on the mobile phone. These include e.g. B. Subtitles for videos, podcasts, audios and calls, as well as actions related to your notifications or text suggestions. In this menu you can also disable keyboard suggestions or delete system saved data.

The privacy panel and all features mentioned in this article were tested on a Pixel 3 while it was still on Android 12 Beta 4 (SPB4.210715.014). Therefore, some settings or information may change with the release of the official version of the new operating system and it also depends on the smartphone model you are using.

What do you think of the new operating system transparency and privacy protection features coming in the next version of Android?