One of the main differences between Android and iOS always lies in the security policies of both platforms. And it is that while the Apple operating system opts for a practically complete isolation of each app with respect to the rest, in Android any installed app can check that other applications are installed on the device and, of course, interact with them with the purpose that be.
This model, the Android one, has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is, of course, that this possible interconnection between apps allows you to create integrations with which to improve the functions. The problem is that any malicious app has, if it wishes, access to the rest of the software installed on the device, which can pose a serious security problem. And this is the reason claimed by Apple so that, on iOS, each app is isolated from the rest.
This, however, is about to change, because as we can read in Gizmodo, Google will begin to significantly limit this possibility, cutting the use of broad visibility to very specific cases. Information that the search engine company qualifies as confidential and intends to start protecting. In addition, in counting what you might think, we will not have to wait for Android 12, Google says that this new policy will be applied soon in Android 11.
In order for an app to check that other apps are installed on the device, the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES call is used, which will not be eliminated, but whose use will have to be justified by the developers. And there are types of apps in which it does make sense to maintain this possibility, as with file managers, antivirus, and so on. What does not make sense is that, for example, a flashlight app or a sudoku puzzle can check what other apps are on the device.
As I said before, this change in Android policies will be applied in the short term. The announcement of the changes was made public on March 31 and Google has granted developers 30 days (extendable) so that they begin to apply these new policies in the apps that upload to Google Play, whether they are updates or simple revisions to adapt them to these new rules. Developers who do not make this change will risk having their apps removed from the Google Android app store.
During last year both Apple and Google have focused more than ever on the privacy of their users. In the case of iOS, with controversy with Facebook included, and in the case of Google, with measures like this or as with the information on the use of the camera and microphone that we already talked about here. And it seems to me, without a doubt, a very intelligent and positive move on the part of both companies.