Apple Offers Developers Clarification on Some App Privacy Data Reporting Requirements

Apple today informed developers that it has introduced additional guidance for App Store privacy labels, a feature that Apple has been requiring for all apps since December.

app store privacy labels iphone 12
Apple says that rules surrounding data types like email, text messages, and gameplay content have been expanded to make it easier for developers to understand and comply with requirements.

Additional details have been published on completing your App Store privacy labels, including more information about data types, such as email or text messages, and gameplay content. You'll also find more information about data collected in web views and data that may be entered by users within documents or other file types.

On its developer website, Apple has a detailed list of the kind of information that developers must provide for their apps, and explanations of the types of data collection that must be disclosed.

Data collection for tracking purposes, third-party advertising, marketing, and other reasons must be disclosed to users, and developers are required to self-report using Apple's guidelines. As of December, Apple has been requiring ‌App Store‌ developers to provide App Privacy label information to submit new apps and app updates to the ‌App Store‌.

Apple does not check the data that each app submits, and in January, The Washington Post found more than a dozen apps providing inaccurate or misleading data in their privacy labels.

Apple said in response that it is subjecting developers to routine and ongoing audits of information provided. The company works with developers to correct inaccuracies and has said that apps that fail to disclose accurate privacy information may have future updates rejected or could be removed from the ‌App Store‌ entirely.

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Top Rated Comments

icanhazmac Avatar
44 months ago

Apple said in response that it is subjecting developers to routine and ongoing audits of information provided. The company works with developers to correct inaccuracies and has said that apps that fail to disclose accurate privacy information may have future updates rejected or could be removed from the App Store entirely.
Excellent, thank you Apple! Without consequences devs will just lie/omit.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aesc80 Avatar
44 months ago

If Apple does not check the data that each app submits, what is to stop developers from lying about their privacy label sans Apple doing a random audit? I may be missing something here but, that lack of follow-up with each app defeats the purpose of moving towards more transparency and privacy, in my opinion.
It's sort of random, but normally there is a good amount of checking that's done. That being said, it's difficult to check every submission that goes through Apple Connect for compliance. It's definitely one job I'm glad I'm not doing (but also tip my hat to those at Apple that do).
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacBH928 Avatar
44 months ago
The privacy labels is a joke. you can't understand it. Its so vague. For example the Gmail app says:

Purchases: What purchases, Its an email app not a store front.
Identifiers: Like what? My IP address or my DNA?
Other Data: Yes, ok I got it.
Search History: What search history? From the Safari browser? Chrome? My computer? TV?

add to that you can never know whats going on in a closed source program.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
44 months ago
If Apple does not check the data that each app submits, what is to stop developers from lying about their privacy label sans Apple doing a random audit? I may be missing something here but, that lack of follow-up with each app defeats the purpose of moving towards more transparency and privacy, in my opinion.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Daveoc64 Avatar
44 months ago

If Apple does not check the data that each app submits, what is to stop developers from lying about their privacy label sans Apple doing a random audit? I may be missing something here but, that lack of follow-up with each app defeats the purpose of moving towards more transparency and privacy, in my opinion.
Apple can't check what happens to the data - it's simply not possible.

As the article says, the privacy label is intended to tell users when their data is used for purposes like marketing and ads. The privacy label system has different sections to cover the different ways in which data can be collected and used.

If an app only uses your email address to send you password reset emails and nothing else, that can be declared in one place on the privacy label. If the app uses email addresses to track you for advertising purposes, that goes in a different place. If the app only uses email addresses in exceptional circumstances (e.g. when filling out an optional feedback form), the app may not need to declare that it collects email addresses at all.

Apple can't verify what happens to the data once it goes to the app developer's servers. If they say it's just for logging in, Apple has to trust that, unless proven otherwise.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
44 months ago
Release iOS 14.5 already please ?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)