Google is all set to remove all those apps which have been misusing Accessibility Services functionality of Android. The word ‘misuse’ here refers to the situation when an app is making use of Accessibility feature for anything except helping disabled users. This basically a lot of Android apps including a number of well-known ones like LastPass and Tasker are guilty of the misdeed as per the announcement.
For those of you wondering what exactly Accessibility Services are, these are a set of APIs that allow developers to make their apps do certain tasks with a goal of enhancing the user experience of disabled users. Some of these tasks include reading out loud what’s on the display or auto-filling details like username and passwords. As per Android Police, Google seems to have taken the decision to remove apps misusing these features is related to the security aspect of the platform and devices.
Here is what Google mentioned in an email to sent to a developer:
“If you aren’t already doing so, you must explain to users how your app is using the [accessibility service] to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps. Apps that fail to meet this requirement within 30 days may be removed from Google Play. Alternatively, you can remove any requests for accessibility services within your app. You can also choose to unpublish your app.”
This decision will surely affect a number of legitimate apps which were making use of Accessibility feature to offer some of their core and useful features. We will have to wait and see if Google sticks to the announcement or makes some changes to accommodate those legitimate apps.