Android 11 File Manager Apps Can Request Device’s File Access Starting May

To stop unwanted apps from having broad storage permission when there is no need for one, Google brought Scoped Storage restrictions with Android 11. Before this, however, all apps could declare “READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” permission, and have access to all files on the device. To ensure that file manager apps that need legitimate access to the stored files, Google allowed them to target Android 10 (API level 29) for the legacy storage access rights.

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Apps targeting Android 11 devices with API level 30 or above come under the scoped restriction, so Google wants them to request “MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” for broad access to storage. But as of now, it doesn’t allow developers to request “All Files Access” and wants them to sign a Declaration Form.

This form weeds out the suspicious apps that have no business with the file access – just like the permission for SMS or call log permission. Surprisingly, the Declaration form was slated to be available since November 2019, but it still isn’t all these months, leaving developers in the dark.

Google attributed the reason being, COVID-19 workforce challenges that forced apps from doing so. Now, at last they have started intimating developers via email. There’s a support page too which indicates that the Android 11 request permission can be uploaded starting May 2021.

We can presume, the Declaration Form will also go live at that time, and developers at least have some light thrown on this issue. To learn more about the permissions, exceptions and the invalid uses of the file access or the alternative APIs – head straight over to the support page if you are an Android 11 file manager app developer.


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