Rooted Android devices only: LBE Privacy Guard is a free app for Android that makes it easier to get a handle on app permissions by monitoring and policing them for you. Apps can be denied access to any set of permissions they ask for, either in real time or before they ever ask. It also gives helpful, informative tips about each type of permission and why you may want to block or allow apps access to it.With a new batch of malicious apps getting pulled from the market just this week, it’s more important than ever to reign in the power given to apps, especially when they don’t need it. A good example is the simple notepad app that, for reasons unknown, requests permission to access your contact lists and phone number. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
LBE Privacy Guard works much like an interactive firewall, which many users have on their desktop computers (it feels a lot like Little Snitch, only for permissions and not network access). Every app installed on the device is scanned and listed by which permissions it requests. If you go through those lists and apply your own settings, they’re remembered. If you just activate Privacy Guard and wait, you’ll soon start to see notifications as the app blocks permissions until you give the OK—and you can choose whether or not you want it to ask again for each app’s request.
The app’s navigation is extremely well laid-out, very clean, and it cuts straight to the point so there’s no confusion. To help fight the problem of malicious apps racking up data, text, or phone charges, permissions that affect those phone services are grouped under the heading “Expenses Manager.” Other permissions groupings include location, phone ID, and internet access.