Elternguide Logo

Check and set app permissions

3 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
Copyright: photothek.de

Some apps only work if they can access certain functions and data on the device: Google Maps needs access to the location, for example, in order to navigate, Instagram would like to access camera and photos, because otherwise no pictures could be posted and WhatsApp accesses the saved contacts to be able to send messages. But with some apps, it is not clear at first glance why they request a lot of personal data and permissions during installation. To avoid unintentionally storing and sharing your child’s data, it makes sense to keep track of app permissions together and make the right settings.

What are app permissions?

After downloading an app, so-called permissions are often requested when opening it for the first time. This defines which functions and data the respective app is allowed to access on the device. However, some apps want to access functions that are not necessary and require more permissions than necessary. The main reason behind this is the interest in using data for analysis or advertising purposes or passing it on to third parties. This is especially the case with free apps and many game apps, as they earn money by sharing user data. Unfortunately, this is why they are often questionable in terms of data protection.

For each app, it is best to check exactly which permissions are granted with the installation and whether they are really necessary for the app to function before downloading it. In the Google Play Store or the App Store , you can see what an app wants to access. The information about app permissions can be found in the Play Store , if you scroll down a bit,under “Data security”. You can learn more in Apple’s App Store by clicking on “Privacy”. There, under “Data associated with you”, you will find categories of data that are collected when you use the app. Further links lead to the app’s privacy policy and terms and conditions (unfortunately often only in English).

How can I view and set the permissions of my children’s apps?

View the permissions of an app on the smartphone to know what features and information it accesses. It is best to look at these together with your child and discuss which settings should possibly also be deactivated. There are two options for both Android (from version 6.0) and Apple devices (iPhone/iPad from IOS 7). To do this, go to the “Settings” for both operating systems.

Option 1 for Android:

  1. Under “Privacy”, click “Permissions Management” or “Permissions Manager”.
  2. Tap a permission and use the slider to select whether an app should have access or not. In newer Android versions, a list is displayed for which apps the permission is allowed and for which it is not. Click on an app and change the access.

Option 2 for Android:

  1. Under “Apps” or “Apps & Notifications”, click the app you want.
  2. Then tap on “Permissions”. Now you can use the sliders or – in newer Android versions – the list of permissions to select which permissions the app should receive and which not.

You can learn more about app permission settings on Android devices by contacting Google support.

Option 1 at Apple:

  1. Select “Privacy” under “Settings” in the list or “Privacy & Security” for newer IOS versions.
  2. Select a permission to view the list of apps that want to access that feature or information.
  3. Tap on an app and use the check mark to select whether the app should have access or not.

Option 2 at Apple:

  1. Scroll down to the list of applications in “Settings”.
  2. Select an app to check its permissions.
  3. Using the sliders, you can now choose which permissions the app should get and which not.

You can learn more about app permission settings on Apple devices by contacting Apple support.

What should parents pay attention to when it comes to app permissions?

Agree with your child whether or not they can install apps independently. Is your child already experienced with smartphone use and can he or she assess which app permissions are useful or does he or she still need support?

Talk about which permissions make sense for which apps and show your child how to disable permissions. Access to location information or saved contacts should be handled with care in order to protect your own data. Consider together what is more important, using a particular app or maintaining privacy. If necessary, research alternative apps that are privacy-friendly.

Even after installation, check the permissions at regular intervals. For some apps, permissions change during updates.

If you are unsure whether an app is trustworthy, it is worth looking for information about the developer or provider on the web. On klick-tipps.net, numerous apps popular with children are evaluated and presented with a view to possible risks.

Linked topics

Project partners