Managing application privileges (permissions) on Android isn’t that user friendly – and that includes KitKat 4.4. If you want a powerful tool to manage your app privileges (permissions) then XPrivacy might just be that app. XPrivacy allows you to manage and control app permissions via the installer for the Xposed Framework.
The Xposed Framework* is a customisation tool which allows modders to make changes (install modules such as XPrivacy) to the Android system without making changes to the behaviour of apps and/or the source code. We use this framework to look for module exploits.
In most instances you would need to download the Xposed Framework from XDA Developers forum, but for the benefit of this post, you can do this with the help of the XPrivacy Installer app. Then you would have to find a module to install. Remember for you to be able to install the XPrivacy module your device will need to be rooted.
The XPrivacy module allows you to have super user power in that you can stop an application like Twitter and Facebook from having access to specific permissions. Beware though, if you start changing privileges (permissions) ad hoc you might end up crashing the app or the device. So beware!
*Only works with SU/root access on Android 4.0.3 or later.
The following was tested on a Galaxy Nexus running Android Jelly Bean 4.3 (Build JWR66Y):
- First up you will need to download the XPrivacy Installer https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=biz.bokhorst.xprivacy.installer
- Open > XPrivacy Installer and Tap > Check for root and check both “I have made a full backup” and “I have enabled Unknown Sources”
- Tap > Download/install Xposed (this is the Xposed Framework) – this will open your browser (URL repo.exposed.info/module/de.robv.android.exposed.installer)
- You will need to scroll down the webpage and look for “download” – this should be version 2.4.1 de.robv.android.xposed.installer_v25_36cbbc.apk – always check the MD5 hash with a checker tool. Tap the URL and you need to complete the action using your browser (you may have to do this twice**)
- Once download is complete – pull down notifications and tap > de.robv.android.xposed.installer_v25_36cbbc.apk and this will open the Xposed Installer – Tap > Install and you should now see a tick next to “App installed”. Now tap > Open
- Tap > Framework to update Xposed to the latest version > install/Update > Tap > OK when done and reboot
- Open Xposed Installer and tap > Download > search > XPrivacy and tap > Download (latest version 1.10.36)
- You will then be asked whether you want to install the app tap > Next > Install > Open
- Finally to use XPrivacy you need to enable the module from Xposed Installer – tap > Modules and check xPrivacy.
That’s it – you are now ready to play with XPrivacy and manage/filter your apps!
**If you use Chrome you may see a notice “This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep de.robv.android.xposed.installer_v25_36cbbc.apk anyway?” Tap > OK
XPrivacy is a very powerful module. It certainly is more useful than CyanogenMod Privacy Guard and Google’s up and coming App Ops (which disappeared in 4.4) in my mind. However I’m sure major improvements will be made with these in time too.
Safe surfing folks!