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Android 15 May Add App Quarantine to Shield Users from Malicious Apps: Report

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In Short:

Android 15 is set to launch on Pixel smartphones with new features, including the ability to quarantine apps. This feature will limit the capabilities of potentially malicious apps to prevent harm to the user’s device. The feature is currently in development, and if enabled, only system apps like Google Play Services will have the ability to quarantine other apps. This will enhance security on Android devices.

Android 15 Update Bringing App Quarantine Feature

Google is set to release Android 15 later this year, and new features have been revealed through developer previews and beta releases. One noteworthy feature in the upcoming operating system update is the ability to “quarantine” malicious apps on smartphones.

Quarantine Feature Details

According to reports, Google is developing a feature that will allow system apps like Google Play Services to isolate and restrict suspicious apps on Android 15. The quarantined apps will have limited capabilities, which can prevent them from causing harm to users’ devices. This feature, if included in the final release, will work similarly to antivirus programs on Windows.

Current Status of the Feature

Although the code for the app quarantine feature exists in Android 15, it is not yet activated. The feature, when enabled, will block notifications, hide windows, stop activities, silence the device, and restrict interactions with other apps for quarantined apps.

Image: The purported Quarantined Apps interface on Android 15

Permissions and Limitations

Google is working on a “QUARANTINE_APPS” permission that will only be granted to apps signed by Google’s certificate, restricting the ability to quarantine apps to the Play Store or Google Play Services. Despite the visibility of quarantined apps on Android 15, users will be notified that the app is unavailable when tapped, with options to approve or unquarantine it.

Potential Release and Functionality

It is unclear if the app quarantine feature will be available on Android 15, as it was initially seen in a developer build of Android 14 in 2022. If implemented, only the Play Store or Google Play Services may have the ability to quarantine apps. The feature could aid in cases where Google’s Play Protect malware scanner detects suspicious app behavior that is not yet classified as a threat.

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