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Google decides to re-evaluate whether they remove apps that misuse accessibility services, such as LastPass and Tasker

Applications that misuse the accessibility service to add beneficial features for their users get a short pause from Google. (Source: JuralMin/Pixabay)
Applications that misuse the accessibility service to add beneficial features for their users get a short pause from Google. (Source: JuralMin/Pixabay)
Google has asked developers whose apps use the accessibility permission to email them with how their app uses this permission to enhance user experience so that they can assess "responsible and innovative" use of the permission. While doing this they have put a pause on the 30 day 'modify or remove' notification they had previously given developers.

Recently Google sent emails to Android developers whose apps used the accessibility permission, saying that they would be required to modify or remove their app from the Google Play Store within 30 days if they weren’t able to show how the app used that permission solely for users in need of accessibility assistance. 

Developers took to Reddit to outline the impact that it would have on their application, and many users vented their frustration at losing key functionality from their favorite apps. Google seems to have paid attention to user feedback, and they have decided to put a pause on their decision to enforce this requirement. They have now asked developers to outline how their app uses the accessibility permission, and Google will evaluate “responsible and innovative uses of the accessibility service.”

This permission is used by applications such as LastPass for password autofill, and Tasker for setting up specific automatic actions. The reason there is a problem here is that often these apps relied on the accessibility permission because there were no APIs available which gave the required functionality, or in the case of password autofill there is an API for Android 8 but not for any earlier versions of the operating system.

Google’s full response to developers can be found in this Reddit thread.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 12 > Google decides to re-evaluate whether they remove apps that misuse accessibility services, such as LastPass and Tasker
Craig Ward, 2017-12- 9 (Update: 2017-12-10)
Craig Ward
Craig Ward - News Editor
I grew up in a family surrounded by technology, starting with my father loading up games for me on a Commodore 64, and later on a 486. In the late 90's and early 00's I started learning how to tinker with Windows, while also playing around with Linux distributions, both of which gave me an interest for learning how to make software do what you want it to do, and modifying settings that aren't normally user accessible. After this I started building my own computers, and tearing laptops apart, which gave me an insight into hardware and how it works in a complete system. Now keeping up with the latest in hardware and software news is a passion of mine.