App Ops Activity Out of AOSP

As was originally publicly reported by Pau Oliva, the AOSP Settings app has had a recent commit, by Dianne Hackborn, commenting out the App Ops activity entirely.

App Ops, for those of you just tuning in, was semi-leaked in Android 4.3, allowing users to disable “operations” (roughly matching one-to-one to key permissions) on a per-app basis. You can learn more about App Ops in my earlier blog post on the subject.

If you have been using App Ops as a user, consider reverting your changes. Since this commit only comments out the activity, it is possible that the underlying App Ops engine is still active. If an Android 4.3 patch release removes your access to the App Ops activity, you will be unable to revert the changes you made via App Ops, short of uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

For developers, this is a promising sign. While the capabilities that App Ops offers may be a long-term net positive, the leaked/undocumented nature of App Ops in Android 4.3 could easily have turned into a widespread source of crashes and unexpected behavior. I suspect that App Ops, or something akin to it, will re-appear at some future point, though, so savvy developers will keep in mind that certain operations, authorized by the user via permissions, could later be blocked.

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