In what appears to be a bid to protect Android users data, Google has reportedly blocked Xiaomi’s ‘Quick apps’ application. Google is said to have has blocked the app as per its Play Protect policy. This has been reported by several users of Xiaomi devices on Twitter and Reddit. Some of these users have claimed that they recieved pop-up from Play Protect saying, “This app can collect data that could be used to track you.” The message appeared when these users tried to update the app via system app updater. Google seems to have blocked the ‘Quick apps’ app after an update was rolled out on November 14.
As for what is per Google Play Protect? “Google Play Protect helps you keep your device safe and secure. It runs a safety check on apps from the Google Play Store before you download them. It checks your device for potentially harmful apps from other sources. These harmful apps are sometimes called malware. It warns you about any detected potentially harmful apps found, and removes known harmful apps from your device. It warns you about detected apps that violate our Unwanted Software Policy by hiding or misrepresenting important information…,” is how Google defines the Play Protect policy on its support website.
Google has not clearly stated what made it block the app. However, speculations suggest that it is probably linked to a report that found ‘Quick apps’ app has access to over 55 system-level permissions on users’ smartphones.
To recall, back in April, it was reported that this Xiaomi app has permissions that allow it to install unregistered apps without notifying the users, record confidential information like IMEI, IMSI, SIM numbers and even record audio, video and calls of the users. On the basis of all these permissions that may or may not have been granted, Xiaomi delivers ads on users’ lock screens, browser and more.
Notably, the app is not available on the Google Play Store but is part of Xiaomi’s own MIUI ecosystem and therefore cannot be simply uninstalled. Google being the provider of the Android operating system scans any apps on all smartphones that make use of its Play Services. Earlier this month, Google partnered with three mobile security companies — ESET, Lookout and Zimperium — to create an ‘App Defense Alliance.’ Google said that it is doing this to “stop bad apps before they reach users’ devices.”