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Help! I’m Afraid To Update

Monday, February 9th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Android, Security Help

Kim from Wisconsin asks:

I have a question about “UPDATING”. I have an android phone, and a lot of things need updating.  OR when I go to download an app it asked me questions.  
Well a lot of things I don’t update, or download, as it asks me questions like…..”Identity-location-device history-Pictures-call log.” Well you get the point.  I can understand them needing access to your Pictures if you are downloading a picture app, but why do they need all the other info?  I don’t like that they need access to all that other info.

Can you break down for me, why sites need the info they are aksing for?   I have nothing to hide, it just seems like an invasion of privacy for the most part. Like Google asks for my call log.  WHY?  So I don’t update it. HELP ME to Understand this part of the tech world.

Let’s talk about the difference between updating and downloading a new app. If you have an app update available, you have that app on your phone and all of those permissions you’re worried about have likely already been granted to that app.


 Not updating current apps is a bad idea. App updates often contain security patches as well as fixes for other bugs. If you no longer want that app your device because you aren’t comfortable with the permissions, uninstall it. But skipping updates can lead to other issues.

There can be many legitimate reasons why an app needs multiple permissions.

For example a photo app needs access to your picture and your camera. But it also asks for your contacts so that you can text or e-mail images from that app. It may also want your Facebook and Twitter information because that app enables you to share photos to those service. A photo app might also ask for location, because it has the capability of tagging photos with a location.

The “read phone status and identity permission” allows an app to freeze and for a notification of an incoming call to pop up.  Google maps not only wants permission to use GPS to locate you in order to offer directions but also permission to use your phone, in case you want to use the feature of calling a business that you’ve looked up.

An app would need “modify delete storage” permissions to save files or keep temporary logs on your device. Apps require “full network access” in order to sync with an online account or to update software.

I’m not sure which Google app you mean when you say it wants your call logs. If it’s an app like Google Hangouts, it’s because you can make voice calls through that messenger app.

An app such as Facebook could require access to your camera because you can take photos and videos through the app, access to contacts because you can send messages to contacts, access to location because you can tag photo and events with locations, access to your phone to both make calls and to let you know when calls are coming in.

For more complete details on what certain permissions mean, you can go to the Google Play Store and select an app like Messenger.


Scroll down to the Permissions section and tap, View details.


You can get more information about each of the permissions there.



 ~ Cynthia

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4 Responses to “Help! I’m Afraid To Update”

  1. Karen says:

    Looks to me like they do not need all these “permissions” I do not give it to them. I do not leave my GPS on it is nobodys business where I am at all times. I do not leave all the apps permissions on. In fact I delete most of them because if it. I do not want Facebook into my phone book. It is not their business who I call. And when they got nasty about allowing it to sinc to my phone book. I deleted facebook!! If something coming in needs a specific thing. I can turn it on long enough to receive or send and shut it off after the fact. IE: Mobile Data. Only need that when a photo is trying to visit. These apps are after too much of my privacy.

  2. bunky says:

    I agree 100% with Karen–I find no need in allowing an app to delete or view any of my personal info on my tablet, so I just don’t go on the net. I’m seriously thinking about selling my tablet because of this fact. If I want to send a photo I will use e-mail or some other method. I love the internet but it is getting far TOO personal for my liking, so this ends my purchase of a new and larger tablet.

  3. Ken Mauro says:

    Brava Karen, I stomped my Facebook account a couple years ago, a person gives up all their privacy for what? But It has made Facebook rich. Who cares how many times “friends” go to the bathroom.

  4. Meha says:

    I agree with the above contributors….enough-
    privacy –
    not necessary.

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