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CM12: How to Enable Privacy Guard

Privacy Guard is CyanogenMod 12’s version of individual rules for application permissions. Sadly, it isn’t enabled by default so today I’m going to show you how to enable CM12 Privacy Guard on your smartphone or tablet.

The permission system in Android isn’t very good to say the least. It’s an all or nothing system where you have to decline installing an application entirely if you do not like one individual permission that it requires. For example, if a flashlight application requires permission to access your location, in stock Android you simply cannot deny the app access to your location. Instead, you have to opt for installing a different application entirely even if you like the other one the most(maybe it has more/better features or something).

CyanogenMod has solved this issue by creating what they call Privacy Guard. With this feature(enabled), much like on iOS, when an application asks for a certain permission, you are asked whether or not to grant that permission. Going back to our example, if you installed your favorite flashlight application and you feel there isn’t a need for them to have access to your location, a pop-up will appear(like in the image above) when that application asks for the location. You can choose whether or not to allow the application to have access to that permission and it also has a check box to tell CM12 to remember this decision. The sad part is that Privacy Guard isn’t enabled by default so we have to dig through the settings and enable it.

Enable CM12 Privacy Guard

  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Scroll Down and Tap on Privacy
  3. Tap on Privacy Guard
  4. Tap on the ‘Enable by Default’ Switch
  5. Tap on Any App You Want to Enable it For


Some Android OEMs have their own style of Privacy Guard installed but this is a tutorial for CyanogenMod 12. So, naturally, you will need to have CM12(or a CM12 based ROM) installed on your device for this to work. As I’ve said, this isn’t enabled by default, so you want to open up the Settings of your device and then scroll down so you can tap on Privacy. From here, you should see the Privacy Guard feature somewhere toward the top. On this screen you should see the ‘Enable by Default’ option at the top of the list, followed by a whole list of your installed applications. Since this option isn’t enabled by default, you’ll need to go through this list(after you have enabled this feature) and then tap on each application that you want Privacy Guard to work for.

For example, I don’t mind Google published applications from having permissions so I have chosen to not tap any of those. However, I went and tapped all of the 3rd party applications that I had previously installed so that Privacy Guard will activate for those apps. You can also tap on the hamburger menu(three dot menu) at the top right and then tap on the system apps option. This will list all system applications as well in case you want to activate Privacy Guard for some of those applications to. Since we have activated the ‘Enable by Default’ option, any new 3rd party application will have Privacy Guard enabled by default after you install them. If you don’t want this feature, you can simply choose to not activate the ‘Enable by Default’ option within Privacy Guard.

[box type=”warning”]I should warn you that not all applications play nice with Privacy Guard. Some applications will freeze and force close if you deny them a certain permission. This won’t break your device, but you will need to go back through these menus and deactivate Privacy Guard for that specific application if something like this happens.[/box]

If you have any questions about this feature or this tutorial, do no hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of this article. This feature should be present in older version of CyanogenMod as well. I just don’t have the time to install every single version to see if it’s available and how to go about it. For the most part though, it should be in the same place but the feature might be called something different on older versions of CyanogenMod.

[box type=”info”]If this worked or didn’t work for you, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article to let me know. This will help me to keep these tutorials up to date(if it didn’t work) and it can also help to inspire confidence in other readers(if it did work).[/box]

3 thoughts on “CM12: How to Enable Privacy Guard”

  1. Does privacy guard in CM12.1 also block things like IMEI, telephone number, device ID, serial number and similar? As far as I can see, it can´t. You need XPrivacy to block these things as well, or am I wrong?

    1. You are correct. Since Privacy Guard is basically App Ops, this isn’t possible to block this with it(since App Ops didn’t allow this prevention). You will need to use XPrivacy to block device identifier information as you mentioned

  2. On my Oneplus One, talk back is on and simultaneously Privacy guard is constantly on the screen not allowing to go to any other application. Please help

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