OnePlus Android 13 will block sideloaded apps using accessibility features with OxygenOS 13

OnePlus OxygenOS 13 Sideloaded Apps

Google is introducing a change that will prevent apps from abusing the Accessibility API with Android 13. The Restricted Settings feature prevents users from enabling the Accessibility service for malicious apps. Similarly, just after the Google Android 13 stable update, other Android brands will adopt this feature, and OnePlus is one of them.


OnePlus OxygenOS 13/Android 13 will block sideloaded apps via accessibility

Once you have identified such an app, the accessibility settings for that app will be inaccessible and users will see a “Restricted Settings” dialog stating that the setting is currently unavailable. According to Mishal Rahman, the Restricted Settings feature will also prevent users from enabling the notification listener of the app.

OnePlus OxygenOS 13 Sideloaded Apps

Adding to this, Android’s NotificationListenerService API allows apps to intercept and interact with all notifications on behalf of the user. If a malicious app accesses the API, it can read all incoming information and access sensitive information. OnePlus OxygenOS 13/Android 13’s Restrict Settings feature blocks this for all apps sideloaded using non-session-based package installers.

This restriction does not apply to apps downloaded from the App Store, as most app stores use session-based package installers. It only blocks apps that users install from outside the App Store, such as browsers or messaging apps. How workaround that prevents the feature from blocking access to sideloaded apps.

When a user sideloads an app with the Accessibility service on OnePlus OxygenOS 13/Android 13, the system may prevent the user from enabling the Accessibility service. If this restriction is enforced, the service status will be grayed out in Settings, and tapping the service will show a dialog that says “For your safety, this setting is currently unavailable”.

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