Patterns Permissions

Permissions

Permission requests should be simple, transparent, and understandable.

Apps should clarify why each permission request is needed, either through the feature name or an explanation provided.

Runtime permissions are requested at the moment a user needs to perform an action in an app.

Denied permissions should provide feedback and options.

Types of permissions

Educate before asking
Ask up-front
Ask in context
Educate in context
Provide an immediate benefit
Only ask for relevant permissions

Usage Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Permission groups

Permissions are divided into nine groups, allowing users to grant all permissions encompassed by a single action. For instance, granting permission to Contacts includes the ability to both view and edit Contacts.

Permission

Description

Calendar

Managing calendars

Camera

Taking photos and recording videos

Contacts

Managing contacts

Location

Current device location

Microphone

Audio recording

Phone

Dialing and managing phone calls

Body Sensors

Heart rate and similar data

SMS

Sending and viewing messages

Storage

Accessing photos, media, and files

Implied permission

A user may perform an action that demonstrates clear intent, such as:

  • Taking a picture
  • Selecting a contact
  • Starting a call or text message

In these cases, the user’s action clearly demonstrates their intent, and no permission dialog is needed or authorized.

Runtime permissions Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Apps may request permission to access information or use device capabilities at any time after installation. When a user needs to perform an action in an app, such as using the device camera, the app may request permission at that moment.

Users may also allow or deny the permissions of any app from Android Settings anytime after installation.

Example of an app requesting permission

Request patterns Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Your permissions strategy depends on the clarity and importance of the permission type you are requesting. These patterns offer different ways of introducing permissions to the user.

Critical permissions should be requested up-front. Secondary permissions may be requested in-context.

Permissions that are less clear should provide education about what the permission involves, whether done up-front or in context.

Educate before asking

If your app has a “warm welcome,” use it to explain what your app does and why unexpected permissions will be requested.

Ask up-front

Only ask for critical and obvious permissions on first launch.

Because users expect a messaging app to request SMS permissions, requesting it up-front makes sense.

Ask in context

Wait until a feature is invoked to request permission.

Users are more likely to allow a permission when they want to use the feature it enables.

Educate in context

Explaining a permission in context helps gauge user interest and improve comprehension of the permission.

Provide an immediate benefit

Provide instant gratification to make accepting a permission feel justified.

Only ask for relevant permissions

When more than one permission is needed for a feature to work, ask for those permissions only and nothing extra.

Denied permissions Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Provide feedback whenever a permission is denied. Because denying permissions may prevent a feature from working as intended, whenever a permission is denied it should be explained to the user.

Permission denials occur in one of two ways:

  • A permission request is denied by the user
  • A permission is silently denied without warning because a user once selected “Don’t ask again” from a previous permission request

To ensure that features requiring permission always behave as intended, the app should state that permission is needed and provide a way to allow it.

A snackbar displays the need for permission in order to use an audio feature.

Critical permissions

If the app can no longer run because a critical permission has been denied, explain why that permission must be allowed and offer a button to open Settings so the user can allow it.

A screen explains that a permission is needed for an app to function, with a link to allow that permission in Settings.