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Some Samsung phones aren’t alerting users of app background processes

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Sunrise Gold
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Some Samsung phones are not listing Facebook apps in the App Permission Monitor, meaning users are not informed if those apps access certain permissions in the background.

Samsung’s App Permission Monitor is one of the headline features of Samsung’s implementation of Android 8.0 Oreo, and it works by notifying users when an app accesses resources, sensors, or permissions (like your phone’s camera or microphone) as a background process. In short, it keeps you informed as to what an app is doing when you might otherwise be unaware. Some users have noticed that certain apps are not appearing on the list of apps in App Permission Monitor — which means users won’t be alerted if those apps are accessing resources in the background.

According to one source, the issue seems to mainly affect apps from Facebook, with the main Facebook app, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram highlighted as being missing from certain users’ lists. We checked one of our Galaxy S8 units, and sure enough, Facebook wasn’t present on the App Permission Monitor list — but Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger all otherwise did appear on the list.

While this sounds suspect, there does seem to be a common link between those apps which are present and those which are not — whether or not the app was installed on the phone before sale. Facebook on our Galaxy S8 is not able to be uninstalled, only disabled, which usually means that this particular app was pre-installed on the Galaxy S8 when it arrived. Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all installed by a user, and so appear on the App Permission Monitor.

So does that mean that pre-installed Facebook apps have free rein to access anything on your phone? Not quite. Just because it’s not being monitored doesn’t mean it’s allowed access in the first place, and since Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Android has allowed users to pick and choose app permissions. If you’re worried about any app’s permissions, you can still head over to your Apps menu, select that app, and then tap Permissions to see what that app does and doesn’t have access to. Thankfully, this works regardless of whether an app was pre-installed or not.

If you want to check out your Samsung phone’s App Permission Monitor for yourself, you can find it by heading over to your Settings app, then hitting Lock screen and security > App permission monitor.

We have reached out to Samsung for comment, and will update if we hear back.

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