Android 13’s prepping a new option for apps trying to keep it on the down-low

Devs can stop their app from appearing on full display in the Recents menu


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We’re still eagerly awaiting the first Android 13 beta to arrive this month, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of new details worth diving into. Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman returned yesterday with a new deep dive into all the nooks and crannies of the next major Android release, and while it’s primarily developer-focused, there are a couple of interesting points that may impact how you use your smartphone.

One of the most intriguing API additions to Android 13 is a tool to give developers better control over how their apps work with the Recents menu on your phone. Right now, Android essentially creates a screenshot for every application in its current state as you swipe up to the app switcher page. It’s different from a screenshot you’d capture yourself, effectively showing off the current state of each open app on your device.

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Devs can now disable the system from grabbing a screenshot of their app for use in the reviews overview. Similar to FLAG_SECURE, but doesn’t affect user-initiated screenshots or the Assistant.https: //t.co/rgxoA9QGhV

– Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) April 14, 2022

With the setRecentsScreenshotEnabled API, developers gain more control over how their software appears on your phone. When set to “False,” it’ll prevent the system from creating a previewable screenshot for Recents. Obviously, apps like social networks or email providers don’t usually require this level of protection, but any service with confidential data – bank apps, for example – might opt ​​to take advantage of this option.

Rahman notes this is different from the FLAG_SECURE window flag, which prevents all screenshots no matter how they’re captured. You’ll still be able to screenshot these apps using shortcuts on your device, though don’t be surprised if these tools go hand-in-hand for some apps.


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