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Google Asks Android Developers to Justify Accessibility Services

13 November 2017

The tech giant Google has asked app developers to avoid using its Accessibility Service for other purposes. Therefore, if the developers do not agree with Google on this one, they app will be removed from the Play Store and their developer account could be deactivated.

Developers can share a link for the app via a message or through social media where they can try the app without having to install it. These same services can also help apps read information from other apps-creating potential security issues either way.

The downside is that in 30 days Google will also kill hundreds, if not thousands of apps that use the Accessibility service in a non-malicious, but creative ways.

Suddenly this will start to affect some of your favourite apps which use accessibility services to innovate instead of specifically help those with special needs.

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Among the apps that are using this API for users with disabilities, you might have already heard about LastPass, Tasker or Network Monitor Mini, but there are other popular apps using it as well.

As pointed out by Android Police, Google is most likely cracking down on Accessibility Services use due to security reasons.

In an email (embedded below) sent out last week and shared on Reddit, Google told developers that it plans to remove all apps that utilize the Accessibility service from the official Play Store unless the Accessibility service is actually being used to power a feature for users with disabilities.

All violations are tracked.

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While the base storage has seen smartphones get rid of the 16GB models, storage is still much of a contention point when it comes to app sizes. The company also informs that repeated violations can call for a termination of the developer's account as well as related Google accounts after investigation.

If you've reviewed the policy and feel we may have been in error, please reach out to our policy support team. Now in the case of some apps like Maps, you probably need the location turned on because that is its objective.

Yes, in the process, we may lose some really useful apps that are available in the Play Store, but we can at least rest easy that our devices aren't being attacked and passing data to hackers. Is an app like AutoInput (an app that helps a lot of disabled folks) not allowed because a lot of non-disabled people can benefit from it too?

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Google Asks Android Developers to Justify Accessibility Services