Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Privacy Concerns with Recent Apps List

Project Status: Feature Request


When using an app on Android, as you close out of the app, a snapshot is taken to store in a list of recent apps. There becomes a privacy issue with the camera app which takes a randomly grabbed image when your camera was last open that anyone can scroll back to and partially view.

So for example; if you have your phone in your hand, camera probably facing your feet, and you open then close the camera app, a snapshot of that camera view is now stored in your recent apps list. There is no telling what you might accidentally share a photo of here and you never even have to press the button to take a photo, it automatically stores whatever the camera had seen last.

This is also a privacy concern with other apps such as banking apps. Open and login to view your balance, close the app and a screenshot of that balance remains stored in your recent apps list. Anyone could scroll though and see this information without having to login to your bank account themselves.


Currently the only way to avoid this is either by aiming the camera selectively as you close the camera app or by always going back and swiping away your camera from the recent apps.

With other apps such as banking apps, the only way to solve this is to completely sign out of your banking apps after each use, which I would recommend anyway, or remember to swipe the app out of your recent apps list.


In my opinion, they should add to Android the ability for developers to label a view in the app as sensitive or private. That way when the app closes while still on this view a screen grab of it won't be taken or kept around for anyone else who may later hold your device.

Another way would be to let developers replace a screen grab with an alternate view of their own design. The banking app; for example, could choose to replace sensitive screen information with a generic screen or a login screen.

Actually mixing both of these ideas might be the better solution but as long as they do something about this I will be happy.