Quick Guide: Lookout Permissions for Android

At Lookout, we are committed to building products and services that we are proud to share with our family, friends, and people throughout the world. In order to protect your phone from malware and spyware, backup and restore your data, and find your phone, Lookout needs access to a number of Android permissions. So, what is an Android Permission? In order to access certain data or capabilities on your phone, an app needs to request permission from you before you install it. When you download an app from the Android Market, you can see an outline of exactly what data and capabilities the app wants to access.

On this page, we strive to clearly explain the permissions we access and provide detailed explanations about why we access them. We hope that by being transparent you can rest assured that we are people you can trust so that you can enjoy all the features you know and love to protect your phone.

New Permissions as of Lookout Version 8.23

Starting with version 8.23 in the Google Play Store, Lookout for Android asks for two new permissions to improve overall functionality.  The first, "Change Network State," is a permission that allows us to identify users who have purchased Lookout Premium bundles. Having this information allows us to ensure that the app shows these users the correct setup and billing flow. The second, "Send SMS," is a permission that allows us to confirm the device and billing account of Premium users in the United States. We do this by sending a one-time SMS to the applicable carrier. Android 4.2+ users will see a dialog to confirm the SMS before it's sent. 


Retrieve Running Apps

We only use the permission to “Retrieve Running Apps” to get information about the currently running foreground apps to enhance the Premium Lock feature on Android 4.2+ Jelly Bean devices.

Camera Access

We ask for access to take pictures and video so we can use the camera flash to make it easier to find your phone with Scream, and also to enable Lock Cam to take a picture of anyone who tries to unlock your phone with 5 incorrect password or PIN attempts. 

Change Network State

If you purchase a Lookout Premium bundle, this permission ensures that the app will show you the correct setup and billing flow.

Send SMS

In the United States, Lookout Premium users may be asked to allow a a one-time SMS to their carrier, confirming their billing and device information, in order to prevent fraudulent charges. Standard SMS rates may apply.


If you ever need to remotely Wipe your phone (Lookout Premium feature), Lookout needs to modify/delete USB storage contents to erase all of the data in USB storage.

Your messages

To activate the Missing Device features from lookout.com, we send a text message to your phone that is intercepted by Lookout via receive SMS. For our Wipe feature, we need access to edit and read SMS or MMS in order to wipe (delete) messages.

System tools

In order to make sure you are always protected from malware and spyware, we need access to the make application always run permission. To provide Missing Device features like Locate and Wipe, we need to be able to delete all application cache data, modify global system settings, write sync settings, retrieve running apps and prevent phone from sleeping. We also need to be able to disable keylock in order to remotely Lock the device (Lookout Premium feature).

Your location

When you ask Lookout to locate your phone, we use both fine (GPS) and coarse (network-based) location to access both GPS and wireless networks and get the best possible location for your phone. Remember that Lookout only accesses your location when you click “Locate” from lookout.com.

Hardware controls

When you make your phone Scream, Lookout turns on your speaker, even if your phone is on silent, which requires permission to change your audio settings. Lookout also needs access to take pictures and video for Lock Cam and also uses the camera flash with Scream.

Your accounts

Lookout has access to manage the accounts list to remove accounts if you need to use the Wipe feature.

Your personal information

In order to back up and restore your contacts and call history, we access read & write contact data. To identify your phone for Missing Device features, Lookout needs access to the read owner data permission. In order to enable the Wipe feature that allows you to delete data from your phone remotely, Lookout needs to access various types of data, which includes add or modify calendar events and send emails to guests, read & write browser’s history and bookmarks, and read user defined dictionary. To optimize the performance of Lookout on your phone, we access the read sensitive log data permission.

Phone calls

In order to provide Missing Device features and to differentiate between multiple devices on your account, Lookout requires access to read phone state and identity, which provides phone identity info (e.g. IMEI/MEID, serial number, IMSI).

Network communication

Because Lookout is a cloud-based service, we need full Internet access and cloud-to-device messaging to protect you and your phone. We access these permissions to do everything from backing up your data to finding your phone when it is lost or stolen.

System Tools

In order to make sure you are always protected from malware and spyware, we need access to the automatically start at boot permission. If you use the remote Wipe feature, Lookout needs to be able to kill background processes and read sync settings.

Hardware controls

In order to make your phone easier to find when you enable the scream function, we use the control flashlight, control vibrator and camera permissions.

Network Communication

In order to allow users to pay through in-app billing, we use the market billing service permission. The receive data from Internet and view network state permissions allow for better Missing Device functionality.

Your accounts

Lookout needs to be able to discover known accounts if you use the remote Wipe feature.

Your personal information

In order to enable the Wipe feature that allows you to delete data from your phone remotely, Lookout needs access to the write to user defined dictionary.

Read our full privacy policy here.

Enter your info to have Sales contact you. All fields required.

How many devices do you need to protect?