More Than a Dozen Apps With 'Misleading or Flat-Out Inaccurate' Privacy Labels Found on App Store

Last month, Apple introduced privacy labels on the App Store, providing users with a broad overview of the data types an app may collect, and whether the information is used to track them or is linked to their identity or device.

app store privacy labels iphone 12
Apple has required developers to provide this privacy information when submitting new apps and app updates to the App Store since early December, but the labels function on an honor system, with fine print indicating that "this information has not been verified by Apple." As such, there is always the potential that some apps will be dishonest.

On that note, The Washington Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler recently did a spot check and discovered "more than a dozen" apps with "either misleading or flat-out inaccurate" privacy labels. One of these apps was a game called "Satisfying Slime Simulator," which Fowler said was sending his iPhone's advertising identifier and other device information to companies like Facebook, Google, and Unity, despite its privacy label indicating "No Data Collected."

Fowler listed several other apps with "No Data Collected" labels that he found to be covertly collecting user data, such as Rumble, Maps.me, and FunDo Pro. He also found the popular game Match 3D to be "sending an ID for my phone that could be used to track me to more than a dozen different companies," despite having a label that claimed it only took "data not linked to you." Match 3D has since updated its label to reflect "data used to track you."

In response to the report, Apple said it "conducts routine and ongoing audits of the information provided" and works with developers to correct any inaccuracies, adding that "apps that fail to disclose privacy information accurately may have future app updates rejected, or in some cases, be removed from the App Store entirely if they don't come into compliance."

This issue will be partially addressed by Apple's upcoming enforcement of a privacy measure it calls App Tracking Transparency. Starting with the next betas of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, developers will be required to get a user's permission to track their activity across other apps and websites and access their device's random advertising identifier, known as the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), for targeted advertising and ad measurement purposes.

Apple said that, at the software level, App Tracking Transparency will prevent developers from accessing a user's IDFA unless they grant permission, preventing an app from silently tracking their activity in this manner. However, there are still other ways for apps to track users, so the accuracy of privacy labels will still not be guaranteed.

Top Rated Comments

macintoshmac Avatar
15 weeks ago
So what exactly is Apple's team doing with the app submission process, if not to check apps?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Goldfrapp Avatar
15 weeks ago
Honor system? ?????
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
upandown Avatar
15 weeks ago
Disgusting and not surprising in the least. The small guy is no different than Facebook.

I really hope Apple enforces bans with no exception. Otherwise they are just providing lip service and wasting everyone’s time.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redcaptrickster Avatar
15 weeks ago
Did anyone think, even for a second, that this was going to "fix" the issue?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redcaptrickster Avatar
15 weeks ago

More than 12? Out of how many?
It's like cockroaches, though. Where there's 12, there's 1200.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redcaptrickster Avatar
15 weeks ago

I cannot fathom why the Amazon app is using Health & Fitness Data

eta: Unless its because I use biometrics??
So they can blackmail you into buying vitamins and treadmills at a later date.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
magic mouse space gray discontinued

Apple Discontinuing Space Gray Mac Accessories Now That iMac Pro is Dead

Friday May 14, 2021 11:52 am PDT by
Following the discontinuation of the iMac Pro, Apple also appears to be discontinuing Space Gray "Magic" accessories that it sold separately alongside the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro was the only Space Gray Mac, and Apple designed special matching accessories for it. The Space Gray Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad all now say "While supplies last" in small wording at the bottom...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
syng cell alpha

Longtime Apple Designer Christopher Stringer's Latest Project Is a High-Fidelity Speaker With AirPlay 2

Friday May 14, 2021 7:30 am PDT by
Christopher Stringer, a key member of Jony Ive's design team who spent 21 years at Apple before departing in 2017, is resurfacing today with his new venture Syng, which seeks to make an impact in the high-end audio market. Stringer, who contributed to many of the most iconic product designs in Apple's history, announced his plans roughly a year ago, and Syng is today introducing its flagship ...
Twitter Feature

Twitter's 'Blue' Subscription Service May Cost $2.99, Will Offer Undo Tweet Option

Saturday May 15, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Twitter has been working on some kind of subscription service since last summer, and Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs into new features coming in apps, has shared details on just what Twitter is exploring. Twitter's subscription service could be called Twitter Blue, and at the current time, it's priced at $2.99 per month. There will be a "Collections" section that allows users to save and...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...