Google recently made some changes to its Developer Program Policy, in regards to the way installed apps are able to detect each other. From now on, certain apps may not be able to determine what other apps have been installed on an Android device.
According to XDA, Google made this change, with the search engine stating that the full list of installed apps on a user’s device is considered to be entirely personal and may contain sensitive information. As such, the search engine will be restricting the number of apps that can request the “QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES” permission in Android devices running Android 11 or later.
Specifically, the “QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES” permission will only be permitted when the app developer can “sufficiently justify” why it needs to determine the number of installed apps on the phone through said process, instead of using a less intrusive method to determine app visibility.
If a developer fails to meet the new criteria, they must then remove the permission from the app’s manifest, in order to comply with Google’s Play policy. Even if the app does meet the necessary requirements, developers will now be made to sign a declaration form in the Play console or be forcibly removed from the Play store.