iOS 14.3 Introduces App Privacy Labels in App Store

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The iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, and macOS Big Sur 11.1 updates that are live as of today introduce a new App Privacy labeling feature for the App Store and macOS ‌App Store‌, giving customers a way to determine what data an app collects about them before choosing to install it.

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Apple first introduced these labels at WWDC, and has given developers until now to prepare for them. Developers need to self-report details on the information that they collect to Apple, and Apple has now made this a requirement. You should begin seeing ‌App Store‌ labels starting today, though it may take some time for the feature to roll out.

Developers who skirt the rules and don’t provide information on the data they use can see their apps removed from the ‌App Store‌. Developers must identify all data collection and use cases and must keep the information in the ‌App Store‌ up to date.

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Privacy labels are required for all apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, and will include three sections covering data that’s used to track you, data linked to you, and data not linked to you, which is anonymized.

Data used to track you refers to data that links user or device data from an app with user or device data acquired from other apps, websites, or advertising profiles. This section also lets you know if an app shares device or user data with companies that sell data.

Data linked to you includes information like name, age, gender, and more, which is usually provided when creating an account. Data not linked to you references things like diagnostic data that does not have personal information.

Apple is also providing the same privacy information for its own built-in apps, with the details available on the web rather than in the ‌App Store‌ for apps that don’t have dedicated ‌App Store‌ pages.

This includes the ‌App Store‌ app, Camera, Clock, Health, Messages, Phone, Photos, and Safari. Privacy info for these apps can be found in links located in Apple’s privacy support document.

In an interview with Fast Company, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi spoke about the new privacy labels that are available in the ‌App Store‌. He said that privacy labels are just the “start of something really ambitious,” with Apple planning to refine and iterate on the feature over time.

Apple created privacy labels in an effort to help users better understand how their data is used, and he believes users will appreciate the feature when deciding which apps to download. Federighi said that he hopes Apple’s competitors will copy the feature for their own app stores.

The work we’re doing here we view in the context of providing leadership to the industry, raising users’ expectations of what they should expect and demand in privacy. And we absolutely expect that others in the industry will respond to the heightened expectations and demands of customers and improve privacy–and we think that’s great.

This is one category where if they want to copy some of our best ideas toward improving user privacy–we embrace that.

Along with the launch of privacy labels, Apple today updated its dedicated privacy website to outline the privacy features in iOS 14. Apple’s privacy policy has also been updated with easier to read sections such as Your Privacy Rights at Apple and Personal Data Apple Collects from You.

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