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Diving into Android M: Memory manager and revoking/adding permissions

Join us as we take a brief look at the new memory manager and revoking/adding app permissions in Android M.

Published onJune 1, 2015

Last week we brought you quick looks at a number of new changes that are heading to Android M. We’re at the point where most of the big changes have since been discussed thoroughly, but today let’s take a look at two fairly interesting changes that we’ve yet to talk much about.

Want to dive even deeper? Check out our full “Diving into M” series by clicking here.

First up, the new Memory manager. With Android Lollipop you can going into the “Running” section of the Apps menu to see how much RAM each app, and the system itself, is using. This was already a pretty great option for power users, but with Android M you can now get an even deeper look at your device’s RAM utilization.

The Memory section in M tells you how good of a job your device is doing when it comes to RAM usage, how much each app is using on average, and the maximum that each app has used recently. Bottom-line, it makes easy to see which apps historically are the worst offenders when it comes to memory consumption. Tapping on any of the apps in the list will give you even more info, such as currently running processes and what processes were running recently. You can even force stop a process if you so choose.

To open the Memory manager, you’ll want to go to the Apps menu, hit the hamburger menu, choose Advanced, and from there select Memory.

The other area we want to focus on is permissions. A big part of the Android M announcement surrounded permissions, and how apps designed for Android M will give users deeper control over what permissions apps have access to. Right now much of this isn’t up and running, as this is still a developer preview and no apps have been optimized for the new permissions system. In the final build of Android M, apps optimized for the new permission system will actually ask you to authorize individual permissions as you run into them (like first time using the camera in an app), instead of requiring you to grant all permissions in bulk when you first install them.

Beyond that, you’ll also be able to go in and grant/deny app permissions for apps even after you’ve already authorized or denied them in the past. So let’s take a look at how that will work.

Going into Settings > Apps, you’ll have two ways to mess with permissions here. First, you can click on any app individually. A new window will open up, and you’ll then click on the Permissions option. From here you’ll see any permissions an app currently has access to — or is denied. Turning them off/on is as easy as hitting the slider.

That’s not the only way to do this, though. From the Apps menu, you can also click on the hamburger menu and go to Advanced. This is the same screen you’ll access the Memory manager, but this time we will click on App permissions. This will bring up a list of permission groups (Calendar, Camera, Phone, etc).

Clicking on any of these permissions will bring a new list showcasing what apps have access to this permission. You can turn them off/on from here. Keep in mind that revoking permissions in Android M Developer Preview doesn’t actually seem to be working, but this is a preview and so we aren’t surprised.

What do you think of the new Memory Manager? The Permissions system? Let us know in the comments.

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