By Nathalie Voit
As part of its ongoing commitment towards expanding privacy protections for users, Apple is implementing a new “user account delete function” to make it easier for users to erase an account within an app. The company is mandating iOS developers add the new feature to all appropriate apps by the end of January.
The new feature will make it easier for users to remove their personal information from an app, which gets saved unless they go to the app developer’s website and manually delete their account. The company now wants to streamline that process, PCMag UK reported.
On Oct. 6, the company issued new guidelines for app developers.
“The updates to App Store Review Guideline 5.1.1 last June provided users with greater control over their personal data, stating that all apps that allow for account creation must also allow users to initiate deletion of their account from within the app. This requirement applies to all app submissions starting January 31, 2022,” read Apple’s statement.
The rules will also apply to apps that rely on a social network like Twitter or Facebook for user account creation.
“The app must also include a mechanism to revoke social network credentials and disable data access between the app and social network from within the app,” the App Store guidelines state.
Exempt from the new guidelines is information mandated by a federal law requiring iOS developers to retain certain data types, like electronic health records, sales, and warranty records. The company will obligate an app to clearly disclose what data the app collects, how it collects it, what the data is used for, and its data retention and deletion policies.
Apple will also implement a new “Report a Problem” link on its iOS, iPad, and Mac App product pages to make it easier for users to report scams or concerns with apps they’ve purchased or downloaded from the App store.
The feature is currently available in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States but will “expand to other regions over time,” according to the company.
In addition, the company has expanded the number of reporting options available to users. According to Apple, users worldwide can now choose from “Report a scam or fraud” and “Report offensive, abusive, or illegal content” options at reportaproblem.apple.com. The addition of the new options arrives as a report from The Verge showcased how easily fake apps can proliferate on the App store and squeeze through Apple’s safeguards, PCMag UK reported.