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Google’s about to brick many Android apps that use Accessibility Services


A bunch of handy apps on Android that let you do things like autofill passwords, copy content to your clipboard, and automate tasks, may soon no longer work on your mobile device because Google is changing the rules for accessing its platform’s Accessibility Services, reports Android Police.

The company has been contacting developers of apps that rely on the Accessibility Services API for functions like overlaying content and filling in text fields, to ask them to restrict their usage only for functions that assist users with disabilities. Failure to explain the need for the API in this regard will result in the app being removed from Google Play.

That’s a bummer for fans of apps like LastPass, Tasker, Cerberus and Universal Copy, all of which use the aforementioned API. The developers will either have to figure out workarounds for their apps or remove certain functions in order to avoid being booted from the Play store.

The problem that Google is trying to solve is the potential security risk involved in allowing apps to read data from other apps by using the API. Unfortunately, the solution might mean reduced functionality in Android: I use LastPass extensively to fill passwords across apps and sites, and given that I switch phones every couple of weeks for reviews, I don’t know how I’ll get by without it. I imagine that veteran Tasker users who need the app for things like setting your phone to silent by placing it face down and automatically enabling Wi-Fi at home will also feel left out in the cold.

We’ve contacted Google to learn more and will update this post if there’s a response.


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