How to effectively search Android apps?
February 23, 2013 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to search for Android apps that have "appropriate" permission requests?

I recently purchased my first smart phone and was looking forward to downloading all the apps that I have been wanting! But I am a bit shocked by how many apps (free or paid) have permission requests that seem out of line with what the app is actually meant to do (eg having access to my contacts when all I need is a timer, things like that). I have read a recent article which explains this is a problem with a large number of Android apps and I have seen recent questions on the green about how to root the phone and install apps that restrict these permissions but my question is whether there is any easy way to search for apps that say, don't request access your contact information?
Or, alternatively, is there a directory of apps known to have reasonable permission requests that are in line with their intended use?
posted by unlaced to Technology (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't limit your apps to some walled directory.
Out-of-order permissions are most often called out by the reviews and reflected in the ratings. Stick to the Play Store and read a good sample of the reviews if you are not sure.
It's rare that your app is going to have 100,000 installs , 4 star plus reviews and permissions that are out of order.
posted by razzman at 12:40 PM on February 23, 2013

similar thread from a few days ago
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 PM on February 23, 2013

Best answer: razzman: "It's rare that your app is going to have 100,000 installs , 4 star plus reviews and permissions that are out of order."

Sadly experience has not borne this out for me; for example, finding a camera LED flashlight app that isn't some form of crapware is arduous. It should be easy for google play to filter by permissions, as they already have access to them. I can only interpret Play's missing feature here intentional, so as to support an Android developer ecosystem that thrives on information just as much as dollars.

The best answer I can offer is open source. f-droid contains a searchable database of open source android apps. Using my previous example as a quick test, they do come up with at least one LED flashlight app, with sane permissions.
posted by pwnguin at 1:38 PM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

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