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THE NEXT VERSION of Android will block idle apps from accessing smartphone's camera and microphone in a bid to prevent malicious software from sneakily taking photos or recording audio. 

Android P, allegedly known internally as 'Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwich', will finally crack down on user privacy, according to a source code commit spotted by XDA-Developers.

XDA explains that the change targets apps' User IDs (UIDs), which are assigned to each piece of software at the time of installation. In Android P, when the camera detects that a UID is "idle", it will generate an error close and close off access to the camera. 

Such idle apps could be malware created by a hacker and seeded around the web under the guise of legitimate applications, so this change will ensure that dodgy apps running in the background, such as the SonicSpy spyware uncovered last year, can't silently record audio and take pictures for blackmail. 

Android engineers explicitly mention in the source code commit that they're adding this feature to "protect user privacy".

This ain't all we know about Android P, which will be unveiled at Google's I/O developer conference later this year, as a report at Bloomberg last week revealed that the next version of Google's mobile OS will also offer support for iPhone X-style "notched" displays.

While some Android OEMs have poked fun at Apple's display cut-out, Google seems to think it's going to catch on and will offer support for notched displays in Android P. Bloomberg's sources claim the move comes as Google looks to persuade more iPhone users to switch to Android devices, with Apple continuing to dominate the high-end of the market. 

According to the report, Huawei is already working on a notched display, and we'll no doubt see the first iPhone X-a-like devices show up at MWC later this month. 

Elsewhere in Google's upcoming Android P update expect more focus on Google Assistant, with the sources claiming the digital helper could show in up in the home screen search bar, along with better battery life and support for foldable displays. µ

Source : https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3027060/android-p-will-prevent-malicious-apps-from-hijacking-your-camera-and-mic

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