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Google to remove Apps from Play Store if rules are ignored

13 November 2017

A user's post on Google Plus showed the Android feature displaying that an app called Tile, that allows users to locate lost items via Bluetooth 4.0 technology, was draining a huge percentage of the user's battery through location tracking. Google states that developers can alternatively remove the request for accessibility services within the app, or can choose to unpublish their app.

However, Google has just sent warning emails to apps that use this service. As the service was designed for people with disabilities, if someone uses it for other reasons, Google said it will have that authority to remove such apps from its Play Store. It is important to note that a lot of apps are using Accessibility Services the right way. Accessibility services can be used by apps for many purposes like autofill, overlay content and more. Navigating to "Files" tab, users will be greeted by "Downloads", "Received files", "Images", "Videos", "Audio", and "Documents" where the app has automatically organised all your smartphone folders in the given categories.

According to a report by XDA Developers, Google will bring a new feature in Android 8.1 that will help users save some space on their handsets. For example, a password management app may use Accessibility Services so users can fill in text fields within another app with their login credentials. If an app developer used the technique of LastPass for a malicious app, giving that access level on your device would be harmful. There is also the possibility that it is risky to give apps access.

"Like the other policy that basically says that "apps that crash violate developer policy and can be taken down" this new statement is too vague". Developers have 30 days to address their use of Accessibility Services so we will have to wait and see what happens. Google then goes onto talk about possible repercussions. This means many apps will have to severely degrade their functionality if they wish to remain on the Play Store, unless they can convince Google that users with disabilities benefit from them.

The apps and developers in violation of these rules could have their developer account removed.

In addition, this change will affect only the distribution of malware via the official Play Store.

Google to remove Apps from Play Store if rules are ignored