LastPass, one of the most popular password managers in the market has issued a statement about the Android Accessibility Services.
This comes days after search and software giant Google issued a warning that it is planning to crack down on apps that are using the services for anything except providing support to the disabled with the help of Accessibility Services.
The reason that this is significant is because this move will affect ‘power-user’ apps that make use of the Accessibility APIs to add powerful controls to the apps as reported by
Google stated that it will start banning apps from Google Play Store if developers use the APIs for any other reason. This is contrary to the fact that the APIs have been around for a number of years without any rules to govern their usage.
Over the course of time, developers realised how they could make use of these APIs to add a degree of automation in their apps.
Accessibility APIs are the best thing to add powerful features without the need for root access or any other modification which make the app function almost ‘like a system-level app’ as pointed in the report. Password manager apps are the most popular ones that use these APIs to capture the passwords entered the first time, detect text or password fields in any app or any webpage and then provide ‘auto-fill’ services of passwords to the users. It is likely that the company is trying to push the developers to use the built-in Autofill service that was introduced with Android Oreo 8.
Google has started sending emails to developers and has given them a 30-day time frame before their apps are removed from the Play Store. Some popular apps that will be affected by this include Greenify, Tasker, Enpass and others. The interesting part is that the developer documentation by Google still claims that developers can use these APIs for ‘non-accessibility purposes’.
LastPass stated in a post on its blog that it is working with Google and added that ‘there is no immediate impact to our Android users’. The post clarified that Google is working with app development partners, assuring them that the company is focused on working out a ‘long-term solution’ that will meet the needs of the users and the accessibility requirements.