What do the various permissions on Android do?

Android 5.1 and older:

On these operating system versions, Wire asks for all  permissions at once when you install the app. However, please note that Wire will not upload your (hashed) contacts unless you explicitly opt in. At any point you can go to Wire Settings > Options and turn off the Share Contacts option.

Android 6.0 and newer  (API Level 23)

Wire asks for permissions as you use different features in the app. If you change your mind, you can always revoke given permissions by going to the app’s Setting screen. If you don’t give permissions to certain features, some functionality might not work.

Wire asks for the following permissions:

 

Contacts  - “android.permission.READ_CONTACTS”

To upload hashed contacts from your address book to match you with your friends. Once uploaded and matched, they are deleted from our server.

 

Location  - “android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION”

Location info is used for two things:

  1. In your list of devices Wire show where you first logged in, for each device that you add. This helps you to identify if this was in fact you who logged in.
  2. To share your location with friends.

 

Phone, Device ID & call information  - “android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE”

Wire uses this to read your phone number for contact matching.

 

Photos/Media/Files, Storage  - “android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE”

To enable you to use file sharing, saving images to gallery, and caching of encrypted message history.

 

Camera  - “android.permission.CAMERA”

To take pictures or videos and video call.

 

Microphone - “android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO”

To call and record audio messages.

 

Other permissions:

  • “android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE”
    To diagnose network connection and have the app react accordingly to ensure you get the messages on time.
  • “android.permission.BLUETOOTH”
    To enable Bluetooth devices when calling or listening to media on Wire.
  • “android.permission.FLASHLIGHT”
    To control the flashlight, to take pictures in dark conditions.
  • “android.permission.WAKE_LOCK”
    To make sure the phone does not go to sleep while you are using Wire during certain situations, for example calling or recording  audio-/video clips.
  • “android.permission.VIBRATE”
    To vibrate your phone when you have new incoming messages or calls.
  • “android.permission.MODIFY_AUDIO_SETTINGS”
    To switch between speaker and earpiece.
  • “android.permission.INTERNET”
    To communicate with Wire's backend servers, so your messages can be sent and received.

For detailed technical information on Wire's Android permissions:

https://github.com/wireapp/wire-android/blob/master/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml

https://github.com/wireapp/wire-android-sync-engine/blob/develop/zmessaging/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml

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