If you’re not the sort of person who drops money on paid versions of every app, then it’s pretty much impossible to have not come across an ad-supported app in your lifetime. For the most part, ads are a harmless nuisance that appears at the edge of whatever games you’re playing or app you’re using. You might click them, you might not, but they’re there anyway; your constant companion. They’re a fact of life.
Some unscrupulous advertisers, though, have been abusing this goodwill, and some users have found apps were now pushing ads straight to their lockscreen notification area. Android Police noted previously safe apps ES Explorer File Manager, Peel Universal Remote, and Hotspot Shield VPN were among others that had been updated to serve apps outside of the app itself, and thankfully, Google has now cracked down on that.
The updated ad policy is slightly more complicated than “no ads on the lockscreen,” but the general rule of thumb is advertisers are no longer allowed to serve adverts outside of the app’s direct remit. So if you’re a file explorer app, that means no lockscreen ads. If you’re an app that directly affects the lockscreen … well, you’re allowed to still serve ads there. It’s technically part of the app, and that’s what you signed up for when you downloaded it.
This isn’t the first time Google has cracked down on annoying ad practices. Back in 2013, Google banned what were known as “Airpush” notifications; adverts that went straight to your notifications, whether you were in the app or not.
It’s clear that Google has been pushing this way for a while. Android 8.0 Oreo — for those on hardware that will receive the update — will come with features that allow the user even more control over which apps get access to their lockscreen, and simply won’t allow apps to access the lockscreen if they haven’t been allowed to. Android 6.0 Marshmallow was the first version of Google’s OS that gave users more complete control over which permissions apps got access to, and it’s clear Google is happy to continue walking down that path of user-friendliness.
- The best Android apps (April 2021)
- The best Android Auto apps
- The best emoji keyboards for Android and iOS
- How to use WhatsApp
- How to record the screen on an Android device