Apple is fulfilling a promise from earlier this year to make the App Store more transparent about how apps view, use and collect your data.
Back at WWDC in June, the Cupertino, California-based tech company announced plans to add labels to app pages on the App Store. These new labels would disclose information about how apps interact with user data. It’s a good idea that should provide at-a-glance information about the privacy implications of software. Further, Apple will require these labels across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.
Those running the iOS 14.3 update on their iPhones should start seeing these cards in the App Store as developers add the information. It’s worth noting that Apple said it would block developers from updating their apps if they didn’t provide the information starting December 8th.
Apple’s new privacy labels break down data types into three categories: data used to track you, data linked to you and data not linked to you.
The company defines data used to track you as data collected from an app that’s connected to data collected from other companies’ apps, websites or offline properties that is used for things like targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes. Data that’s linked to you, on the other hand, is data tied to users’ identity in some way, such as via an account, device or other details. Finally, data that isn’t linked to you includes data apps collect that isn’t linked to your identity.
While the new privacy feature is definitely a step in the right direction, it’s important to note that it relies on self-reporting. In other words, it’s up to app developers to fill out the privacy information shown in the App Store, and do so accurately. Apple has measures in place to ensure the data gets filled out, and the company says it will take action if it learns about inaccuracies in the privacy information.
Along with these new privacy information cards, Apple also refreshed its privacy information website. Available here, the refreshed website highlights privacy features available in Safari, Apple Maps, the App Store and more.