New permissions are a bit troubling, and no explanation is given
You may love the My Verizon Mobile app because it's an easy way to manage the data you're using. Or you may hate the My Verizon Mobile app because it's bloatware that sucks precious resources away that could be better spent elsewhere. Either way, it got updated today.
The list of changes include a new splash screen and some bug fixes. No big deal, and it's the sort of thing we see every day. Also included, but not mentioned, are three new permissions that seem to be a bit out of place for what the app does. Specifically, we're talking about permission to send and receive SMS messages, initiate Bluetooth pairing, and retrieve a list of all the apps running on the phone.
We can think of plenty of good, legitimate reasons to have these permissions in this sort of app. Like sending messages to Verizon with questions and comments, right from the app. Or to check what apps are running and give you a recommendation of things to do that might save battery. The problem is, this app doesn't do any of those things on our Droid Maxx but still needs those permissions. And we can't think of any good reason for this app to need a Bluetooth connection.
The problem is easy for the end-user to solve, thankfully. If you're the casual type, just deny the update and even disable the app in your device settings if you like. Done. If you're a more power-user type you can use something like "app ops" to kill permissions you don't want the app to have, at the risk of breaking things. But that's just a Band-Aid.
It's great that Android tells us the permissions an app has before we install it. It's the best way to do things, and we hope that never changes. But you would hope they could do a better job explaining what they all mean. These scary line items do no service to developers or users alike.