Declare package visibility needs

As you create your app, it's important to consider the other apps on the device that your app needs to interact with. If your app targets Android 11 (API level 30) or higher, the system makes some apps visible to your app automatically, but it filters out other apps by default. This guide describes how to make those other apps visible to your app.

If your app targets Android 11 or higher and needs to interact with apps other than the ones that are visible automatically, add the <queries> element in your app's manifest file. Within the <queries> element, specify the other apps by package name, by intent signature, or by provider authority, as described in the following sections.

Specific package names

If you know the specific apps that you want to query or interact with, such as apps that integrate with your app or apps whose services you use, include their package names in a set of <package> elements inside the <queries> element:

<manifest package="">
        <package android:name="" />
        <package android:name="" />

Communicate with a host app in a library

If you develop an Android library, you can declare your package visibility needs by adding a <queries> element in your AAR manifest file. This <queries> element has the same functionality as the element that apps can declare in their own manifests.

If your library involves communication with a host app, such as using a bound service, include a <package> element that specifies the host app's package name:

<!-- Place inside the <queries> element. -->
<package android:name=PACKAGE_NAME />

By including this declaration, you can check if the host app is installed and interact with it, such as by calling bindService(). The calling app that uses your library automatically becomes visible to the host app as a result of this interaction.

Packages that match an intent filter signature

Your app might need to query or interact with a set of apps that serve a particular purpose, but you might not know the specific package names to include. In this situation, you can list intent filter signatures in your <queries> element. Your app can then discover apps that have matching <intent-filter> elements.

The following code example shows an <intent> element that would allow the app to see other installed apps that support JPEG image sharing:

<manifest package="">
            <action android:name="android.intent.action.SEND" />
            <data android:mimeType="image/jpeg" />

The <intent> element has a few restrictions:

  • You must include exactly one <action> element.
  • You cannot use the path, pathPrefix, pathPattern, or port attributes in a <data> element. The system behaves as if you set each attribute's value to the generic wildcard character (*).
  • You cannot use the mimeGroup attribute of a <data> element.
  • Within the <data> elements of a single <intent> element, you can use each of the following attributes at most once:

    • mimeType
    • scheme
    • host

    You can distribute these attributes across multiple <data> elements or use them in a single <data> element.

The <intent> element supports the generic wildcard character (*) as the value for a few attributes:

  • The name attribute of the <action> element.
  • The subtype of the mimeType attribute of a <data> element (image/*).
  • The type and subtype of the mimeType attribute of a <data> element (*/*).
  • The scheme attribute of a <data> element.
  • The host attribute of a <data> element.

Unless otherwise specified in the previous list, the system doesn't support a mix of text and wildcard characters, such as prefix*.

Packages that use a specific authority

If you need to query a content provider but don't know the specific package names, you can declare the provider authority in a <provider> element, as shown in the following snippet:

<manifest package="com.example.suite.enterprise">
        <provider android:authorities="com.example.settings.files" />

You can declare provider authorities in a single <queries> element. Within the <queries> element, you can declare one or more <provider> elements. A <provider> element can include a single provider authority or a semicolon-delimited list of provider authorities.

All apps (not recommended)

In rare cases, your app might need to query or interact with all installed apps on a device, independent of the components they contain. To allow your app to see all other installed apps, the system provides the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission.

Some examples of use cases where the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission is appropriate to include are:

  • Accessibility apps
  • Browsers
  • Device management apps
  • Security apps
  • Antivirus apps

However, it's usually possible to fulfill your app's use cases by interacting with the set of apps that are visible automatically and by declaring the other apps that your app needs to access in your manifest file. To respect user privacy, your app should request the smallest amount of package visibility necessary in order for your app to work.

This policy update from Google Play provides guidelines for apps that need the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission.