Apple Developers Required to Justify Use of Some APIs in Latest Move to Boost Privacy

In an effort to bolster user privacy, developers will need to justify their use of certain Apple APIs before their apps can be listed on the App Store, according to a new article on the Apple developer website spotted by 9to5Mac.

iOS App Store General Feature Desaturated
The Apple Developer website now lists some APIs as "Required Reason APIs," meaning that developers have to clarify why they are using them in their privacy manifest. Some commonly used APIs, such as UserDefaults, which stores user preferences, now fall under the Required Reason category.

With the launch of watchOS 10, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, tvOS 17, and macOS Sonoma later this year, developers will receive a warning if they submit apps using a Required Reason API without specifying its usage. From spring 2024, any apps using these APIs without a legitimate justification will be rejected in the review process.

Apple explains that main reason for this change is to curb fingerprinting, a method used to track users across different apps and websites. Fingerprinting uses API calls to gather details about a user's device, such as screen resolution, model, and operating system. This data is then used to create a unique "fingerprint," enabling the user to be identified across various apps or websites.

According to Apple, Required Reason APIs will guarantee that apps only employ these APIs for their prescribed use. In the event of a rejection, Apple will permit developers to contest the decision and submit a request for approval if their case does not fit within the existing guidelines. See the Apple Developer website for more information.

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Top Rated Comments

fatTribble Avatar
13 months ago
I applaud efforts like these from Apple. Anything to enhance privacy for end users is a win in my book. ???
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
George Bailey Avatar
13 months ago

As a developer I can't tell you how much of a pain this is going to be.
As a developer I don't see this being much of a hindrance. I already justify my code by writing comments.

I can't really see someone thinking "Wait, I have to justify my code? That's outrageous!"
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dominiongamma Avatar
13 months ago

As a developer I don't see this being much of a hindrance. I already justify my code by writing comments.

I can't really see someone thinking "Wait, I have to justify my code? That's outrageous!"
I like your attitude towards it, instead of “oh it’s going to be a pain” which gives me little faith in a developer to protect my privacy because it’s too inconvenient for them
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zc456 Avatar
13 months ago
I can already hear Zuck yelling in frustration from within Facebook HQ.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fatTribble Avatar
13 months ago

Good for privacy reason, however how much apps will slip through QC and checks? Many stories how fraudulent apps slipped through. The Apple App Store was once the example of quality apps compared to it's Android counterpart. Now it just feels like Android Junk.
Any gaps in QC can be improved over time. Because they potentially don’t catch everything doesn’t mean they should just give up.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zahuh Avatar
13 months ago
As a developer I can't tell you how much of a pain this is going to be. As a consumer, it's not going to stop me from downloading an app but I guess good to know.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)