When an app asks for permission to access your microphone or camera – it’s probably expected because the app has features that require it. But when it comes to access to phone calls, photos, and even contacts (when it has nothing to do with these things) the doubts start to creep in. And they should because the thought of some random app owner accessing your personal information is far from assuring.
Why do apps need access to phone calls? The million-dollar question!
Not only does it seem creepy, but also super invasive. Are there legitimate reasons for this request? More importantly, should you grant it? Find answers to your questions in this article. We will also throw in more important information relevant to this topic.
Why Do Apps Need Access to Phone Calls?
Apps need access to phone calls when the functionality of the app requires it. If an app has features related to phone calls or call management, then it would need access. Some other apps need access to phone calls for the sake of validation.
For instance, most apps require a phone number upon signing up and they need to verify this number by either calling or sending a code via text. So, they ask for access to phone calls/SMS to automatically verify the code or verify that you received the call.
In this case, some apps will give you other validation options when you deny access to phone calls/SMS. And if an app does not provide other options, then you can allow it and revoke it after the validation is completed.
Another legitimate reason why apps need access to phone calls is that they either want to pause an action when a call comes in or return audio control to your OS. For instance, a game, or fitness track app might need access to phone calls to automatically freeze what they’re doing when they detect an incoming call.
And an app that makes sounds has a certain control over your phone’s audio and sometimes, they might need to return that control when a call comes in. These features are for increased convenience.
If an app does not apply to any of these cases, then it would be prudent to deny or revoke the permission to access phone calls.
Can Apps Make Phone Calls on My Phone Remotely?
Yes, apps can remotely make phone calls on your phone. You can do this on a second smartphone, tablet, the web, or desktop using different apps. To make phone calls on your phone remotely using a PC, you can use an emulator or some apps like mysms, Phone Away, AirDrioid, ISL Light, Pushbullet, Remote Phone Call, Vysor, ApowerMirror, Scrcpy, or Your Phone Companion.
Most of these apps provide a basic mirror feature of your phone screen allowing you to control it remotely. Apps like mysms and Phone Away can also be used on a tablet, second smartphone, or the web.
Is It Safe to Allow Apps to Access Your Phone?
It is safe to allow apps to access your phone when it is a requirement for one or more functions of the app?
For instance, Instagram needs to access your camera, photos, and contacts so you can take pictures with the app, post photos from your gallery onto your page and you can see recommendations of people to follow through your contacts.
If an app’s functionality does not depend on the particular access it is seeking permission for, then you should not allow it. If you want to, it would be safer to be sure you trust the app or email them to confirm why they need access to your information.
It is important to note that the ‘normal’ access that apps need is already granted by default and this is because they do not pose any threat to your privacy. It is the ‘dangerous’ access that apps seek permission for.
There is usually nothing to worry about, they are basically asking for your trust and to allow them to provide you with the services that depend on that access, but it is important to be prudent when granting apps access to your phone. If you cannot figure out why an app needs particular access and your email is not responded to, don’t grant the permission.
What Permissions Do Apps Really Need?
The permissions that apps require are dependent on the functionality of the app. If you download a camera app or photo editing app, then you need to grant the app access to your camera and your gallery.
As earlier mentioned, if the functionality of an app does not require permission to certain features of your phone, then you should not grant it. Better yet, if you cannot figure out why an app needs particular access to your phone, you should send an email requesting clarification.
Do Apps Have Access to My Photos?
An app would only be able to access your photos if you grant permission for it to access them. Otherwise, no app can access your photos.
When you permit an app to access your photos, the app can add new photos to your gallery, access all the photos in your gallery, the date/time every photo was taken, and if your camera app has access to your location, then each picture will have its location attached to it, so the app will also be able to see where you took them.
Why Does McDonald’s App Need Access to My Photos?
The McDonald’s app is famous for requiring unnecessary access to your phone. There is no understandable reason why the app needs access to your photos. This and a lot of other questionable access requests are some of the reasons why most people avoid using the app.
The app is also said to have a publicly accessible API, which means anyone capable of altering the code can access user information including email, full name, date of birth, address, and phone number.
Why Does Capital One App Need to Make Phone Calls?
Capital One app requires access to make and manage phone calls for security purposes. It uses your unique phone information to protect your account from suspicious sign-in activity.
It also requests access to your contacts to allow you to send money to them, photos/media/files/storage to allow you to add a profile picture and download/access your account statements, and location for added security and to help you find a nearby ATM or branch.
Why Do Game Apps Need Access to Phone Calls?
Some games need access to phone calls to freeze the game or return audio control to your OS when an incoming call is detected.
If the game is downloaded from the Google Play store or the App Store and you trust the app developer, then you can grant it access to your phone calls. Otherwise, you should deny the permission. Normally, it should not affect the game’s functionality because it is not a requirement for games.
When it comes to granting permissions, you should ensure that the app was downloaded from the Google Play Store or the App Store, you trust the app developer, and understand the reason for the particular request. To be on the safe side, if you doubt the app or the reason for the request, simply don’t grant it.
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A tech writer with a passion for demystifying complex technology for the masses. With a background in computer science and a knack for clear and concise communication, I have made a name for myself in the tech industry as a go-to source for understandable and engaging explanations of the latest developments. Learn more about tekpip and the team here on our about us page.