Accessibility Problem

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Moderator: Martin

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Martin
Posts: 4376
Joined: 09 Nov 2012 14:23

Accessibility Problem

Post by Martin » 12 Nov 2017 19:55

Hi,

Google just informed me that using an accessibility service might not be allowed anymore for uses other than helping disabled users:
http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/11/12 ... led-users/

The accessibility features (trigger UI Event, action Control UI and App detection) are probably used by disabled users to help control the device but certainly the features are also used for other purposes.

This could mean that Automagic has to remove the accessibility service in a future update if Automagic should still be available in Google Play.
I'll probably wait a few days to decide what actions I will take. Currently I see the following options:
-Google clarifies the new requirement and allows apps like Automagic to still use accessibility services -> no change required for Automagic
-I don't make any changes to Automagic -> Google removes Automagic from Google Play -> I will try to create a version that's accepted again (means I have to remove all accessibility features).
-I remove the accessibility features right away before the 30 day deadline ends.
-I remove the accessibility features and build a second app that can be sideloaded from somewhere else than Google Play that restores the features (might be a lot of work to get everything working again).

I'll likely upload a new version of Automagic in the next few days that will make sure that all requirements will be met by Automagic (except that not disabled users can also use the features).

Regards,
Martin

tphg
Posts: 57
Joined: 17 Apr 2017 05:31

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by tphg » 13 Nov 2017 00:21

Very sad hearing about this. This will make Automagic much less powerful.
Hope you could make another apk app for the fans who had bought Automagic.

holymoz
Posts: 100
Joined: 13 Sep 2013 10:27

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by holymoz » 13 Nov 2017 15:41

very bad news, I make great use of accessibility related features.
hope you can make an accessibility automagic apk to download perhaps on this site and a "dumb" version on playstore.
anyway in the worst scenario we can not update automagic to latest playstore version and get all the features

tphg
Posts: 57
Joined: 17 Apr 2017 05:31

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by tphg » 13 Nov 2017 16:02

What will happen if we stop updating Automagic from now on?
Could we still use the accesibility feature?

Wibbly
Posts: 314
Joined: 17 Mar 2014 09:02

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by Wibbly » 13 Nov 2017 16:21

Maybe there could be a version on Google Play with some kind of "accessibility helper" app posted here? (Maybe that's what you meant by your last option ;-))

simon_magus101
Posts: 38
Joined: 06 Sep 2017 06:59

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by simon_magus101 » 14 Nov 2017 03:45

I prefer sideloading rather than not having the ControlUI at all.

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Desmanto
Posts: 2036
Joined: 21 Jul 2017 17:50

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by Desmanto » 14 Nov 2017 08:00

I just wanna ask about this. This has created outrages in several other forum as well.
Xda : https://www.xda-developers.com/google-t ... lay-store/
google groups : https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... DbjtD4bAts
Android Police : As your link.

I also commented on xda, the quote from AviD's rules of usability (change to accessibility).
"Security at the expense of accessibility comes at the expense of security."
We are then forced to install apps from outside of playstore (which is generally less secure)

I think all the automation app devs (and any other accessibility apps) should unite and make some kind of petition to them. You can check what other devs' decision and maybe follow to certain degree.

We as users can do our best by submitting to google feedback, telling them how important Automagic (accessibility) to our life/daily task. But please use formal and polite wordings, such as the one by Jim Becker
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/tasker/ ... 7Y2CgtDAAJ

Maybe I should make excuse that I have "Laziness disability", so I need Automagic for that. Yeah, they won't listen if they don't want to. But at least we make our best effort, maybe somehow they will change their mind; or at least make exception for automation apps, especially Automagic.

The best solution so far, is to stay at playstore and separate the accessibility part to a separate addon apk. I am sure all automagic users at least know how to sideload apk. This is a massive work for you, but unfortunately the best solution for now. At least, I still prefer Automagic Control UI addon to other app's plugin. I just afraid that by separating the function, it will make the Control UI work slower. For that, after the function removed from the main app, I probably choose not to update for quite a time, until I am convinced that the integration is working as fast as before. So you can remove the function first and update the app to comply to Playstore's policy, and give extra announcement here to those who use Control UI not to update the app first and waiting for the separate plugin to be finished.

This is a massive loss for the devs. We as user, honestly maybe only need a little extra work to sideload the accessibility addon apk. But the devs are the ones who will have to do massive extra work. I wish we can do something about it. So I think you should try to reach out other devs and discuss what are the alternatives beside the solution above. Suing google here is useless, as maybe it will give them barely a scratch but devs will lost more on attorney fees. Pulling your apps from playstore also still a loss from the dev side.

@tphg : Yes, we can pause from updating. As holymoz stated, We won't get the latest feature, but at least we still have the control UI. Hopefully (even there is only small chance) Google will revised the statement again and make it exception for automation apps. Since the ones who are going to install automation apps, at least must be a geek/tech savvy to a certain degree (at least beginner geek if you can call it). So they should already know the risk by enabling the accessibility service.

@Wibbly & @simon : Maybe we should vote here. I also agree with the separate accessibility plugin. But seems Martin will have to go to a lot of trouble to make it works. I still wish for the best scenario, google will make exception for automation apps.
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tphg
Posts: 57
Joined: 17 Apr 2017 05:31

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by tphg » 14 Nov 2017 09:28

@Desmanto
Thanks for your reply to my wondering.
Beside that, I'm also looking for the apk file of current version of Automagic, just in case I change my phone, but still couldn't find it.

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Martin
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012 14:23

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by Martin » 14 Nov 2017 10:34

I have not decided yet how I will handle this issue. I'll likely upload a new version of Automagic that changes the description on Google Play and within the app so that hopefully all requirements by Google are met. I'll then file an appeal to see if Google is happy about the changes.
I prefer this procedure since extracting the accessibility features into another APK is really a lot of work, probably causes reliability issues and performance problems and does not help at all, not even Google, since the new accessibility APK has to be sideloaded from somewhere else which might make Automagic look like malware that sideloads stuff from unknown sources. Maybe I could also upload the new accessibility APK to Google Play again with a remark that it should only be used by disabled users. Somehow this all feels like a bad joke :evil:

@tphg: You can search Google Play for an app like Apk Backup Lite to backup/extract the APKs installed on your device.
I'll also provide a version of Automagic without license check in the forum in case Google removes Automagic or when I have to publish a version of Automagic in Google Play that does not fully restore all accessibility features.

Regards,
Martin

tphg
Posts: 57
Joined: 17 Apr 2017 05:31

Re: Accessibility Problem

Post by tphg » 15 Nov 2017 05:28

@Martin,
Thank you very much.
Sorry that I didn't think I could backup the apps installed on my phone which is unroot.
I have successfully backed it up using Apk Backup Lite as recommended by you.

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