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Word For Android: Too Many Permissions?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Android, MS Office Help, MS Word

Last week I told you all about Microsoft’s new Word app for Android phones. One of our readers had a concern about the permissions for the app.

Nancy writes:  Thanks for the info on Microsoft word app. One problem. It has too many permissions. What do you think?

I always encourage everyone to fully read the permissions needed to use any app. I’m looking at the permissions right now and they aren’t much different from the permissions you give Word when you install in on you PC. But let’s go over them point by point.
Let’s start with read phone status and identity.
android-word-phone -record
This allows you  to know if you’re getting a phone call while using Word. It permits you to be notified of the call and the number calling without the need to shut down the app to answer it.
Record audio lets you dictate copy into word instead of typing it using the voice recognition capabilities.
 Modify or delete the contents of your SD card  allows the program to modify or delete content from a memory card and to read the memory card. You can’t save or open files unless the app can access the card and you want the ability to delete content that you don’t use. Again, this is a very important permission and also one that you give pretty much any program you use on your PC.
Add or remove accounts gives you the ability to create your Office account and set the password as well as access your OneDrive.  Find and use accounts on the device  lets you look for other accounts that work with Word, such as your Dropbox cloud account. This is also how you can share documents and files via social media or e-mail.
Read terms you added to dictionary gives you access to words and definitions that you add to the app’s dictionary.
Full network access is needed for your device to see if it’s connected. The app needs to know if it’s connected to WiFi for things like updates and in order to transfer data to cloud accounts and to open items stored in your OneDrive. Viewing network connections will enable the app to share documents over LAN, Bluetooth and things like Android Beam.
The license check from Google is how Google makes sure everything is legitimate with the app.
Adding words and definitions to your user dictionary is something you’ll want to be able to do and you don’t want the device to go to sleep while you’re doing something important with Word like downloading a big update or transferring a large file.
With the exception of the phone permission, these are pretty much the same permissions that you use for Word on your PC.  I don’t see anything in there that I would find suspicious or unnecessary to use the functions the Word app offers.
~ Cynthia

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4 Responses to “Word For Android: Too Many Permissions?”

  1. Leonard Slates says:

    I am not the person with the original question. Shouldn’t apps be clearer than “Add or remove accounts.” Technically that says they could Add an Amazon or paypal account. Or cancel a gmail account. “Modify or delete the contents of your SD card” could give the app the ability to randomly choose to delete all of your pictures. I realize this is not what they mean, but if google and the apps would give a more detailed description of what they mean, it would cause less concern. Leonard Slates

    • cynthia says:

      Leonard – maybe the apps should be more specific. The way permissions are described are determined by the folks at Google Play.

  2. A D Rose says:

    It also wants to read contacts. Surely there is no good reason for this other than to gather data they would otherwise have no access to? For this reason alone I won’t update and if I won’t update I cannot use it. It’s all a bit big brother.

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