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Apple launches privacy labels for App Store, offers transparency around data collection

This reporting of privacy practices is part of the app submission process for all developers, and is applicable on all app developers globally, including Apple

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | December 15, 2020 | Updated 13:01 IST
Apple launches privacy labels for App Store, offers transparency around data collection
App product pages will show the types of data an app may collect and whether the app will use that data to track the user or whether the data will be linked to the user

Data is the new oil. Almost every service you use on the web tracks and records your data.  But the new privacy policy by Apple will make it compulsory for all app developed to publish privacy labels, that will help users make an informed decision before downloading an app.

Announced at the World Wide Developers Conference in June this year, this new feature will provide users with a glanceable, easy-to-view summary of developers' self-reported privacy practices on apps' product pages on the App Store. This reporting of privacy practices is part of the app submission process for all developers, and is applicable on all app developers globally, including Apple.

App product pages will show the types of data an app may collect and whether the app will use that data to track the user or whether the data will be linked to the user. Data types will be collected in three categories: "data used to track you," "data linked to you," and "data not linked to you."

Also read: Apple iPhone 12 mini Review: 'Small in size, big on performance'

Explaining it further, Apple explains tracking refers to the act of linking user or device data collected from an app with user or device data collected from other companies' apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes.

Tracking also refers to sharing user or device data with data brokers. 'Data linked to you' is data that is tied to users' identity, via users' account on the app, device, or other details. While the summaries will show the data types an app may collect, iOS has many other privacy features that give users granular control over the types of data an app can access after it is downloaded on a user's device.

This new privacy information is required for all apps in all of Apple's App stores - including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.  - when developers submit updates or new versions. App developers can update their labels on Apple's developer portal, helping users stay up-to-date with their apps' data practices.

Also read: Apple iPhone 12 review: The iPhone you should consider buying

Apple will also provide resources to assist developers to fill out this information accurately. Starting December 8, Apple began requiring developers to submit this new privacy information to the App Store in order to update their apps. This does not require developers to make changes to their app or business model.

This is the beginning of an innovative new program to help users have more transparency and understanding about what data apps may gather about users. Apple believes this program to be ambitious and will evolve as Apple learns what works best for users and developers.

Also read: How Apple's App Accelerator is helping developers create innovative iOS apps

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