Apple is now asking social media companies to offer removal of in-app accounts after updating its App Store review guidelines on June 30.
Social media companies will now be required to offer in-app account deletion on iOS to remain compliant with Apple’s updated App Store review guidelines, which must be followed to be listed on the platform. The company has strict expectations for apps on its App Store that it says help foster a safe environment that protects the end user. However, it can be difficult for new apps to get listed on the store for this reason, and some apps struggle to stay compliant. Other developers are completely opposed to the policies, like Epic Games, which sued Apple after challenging its in-app purchase requirements. There is now a new guideline that improves the standards for creating and deleting social media accounts on the App Store.
In recent years, Apple has gone to great lengths to control apps and services, namely social media platforms, while they are being used on company devices. Privacy is an important part of Apple’s mission as a company, and it can be seen in just about every feature or update it brings to date. Social media platforms are notorious for collecting and selling data to advertisers, and Apple recently gave users the option to opt out of certain types of tracking on iOS. This has hurt businesses badly, to the tune of $10 billion in expected revenue lost last year. Apple is now going a step further by ensuring that users of social media apps have the option to delete their account within the app on iOS.
As of June 30, 2022, policies around creating and deleting accounts for apps on the App Store are stricter to protect users and their data. Previously, apps could offer account creation within the app but direct users to a web page to delete their account and all associated data. This can be cumbersome for users and makes it difficult to delete their data, if they wish. Now, any app that offers in-app account creation must also offer in-app account deletion. The company says the account deletion page should be clear and transparent and recommends that it be located in an account settings page. Along with requiring account deletion, it also provides the deletion standard in its application guidelines.
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Developer support notes linked to the updated guidelines also clarify what should be deleted when a user requests deletion of their account. “Deleting an account removes the account from the developer’s records, along with any data associated with the account that the developer is not legally required to maintain.” indicates the page. “Providing this capability gives people more control over the personal data they have shared.This means that when users request to delete their account on iOS, they can expect most or all of their data to be deleted. Alternatives to account deletion – such as disabling an account – are insufficient on their own and account deletion should be an in-app option.
Social media companies are already starting to update their apps to stay compliant with the App Store’s new review guidelines, and it looks like all apps need to be compliant in order to release future updates. The guidelines say apps that don’t offer in-app account deletion may face delays in reviewing app updates and releases. On the last day before the new guidelines took effect, Instagram updated its app to support in-app account deletion. The option is found under Profile > Account > Account Removal, and is an example of what updates from other apps might look like. With updated App Store review guidelines, iOS users will have more control over their data and how it is deleted.
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Source: Apple Developer Support
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