Social media companies will now have to offer account deletion in an iOS app to stay in line with Apple’s updated App Store verification guidelines, which must be followed to be listed on the platform. The company imposes strict requirements on applications in its App Store, which, according to it, help to create a secure environment that protects the end user. However, for this reason, it can be difficult to place new apps in the store, and some apps struggle to meet the requirements. Other developers generally object to this policy, such as Epic Games, which sued Apple after challenging its requirements for in-app purchases. Now there is a new guide that raises the standards for creating and deleting social media accounts in the App Store.
In recent years, Apple has made every effort to keep applications and services, namely social media platforms, under control while they are used on the company’s devices. Privacy is an important part of Apple’s mission as a company, and it can be seen in almost every feature or update it makes to this day. 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 companies a lot, losing an expected revenue of $10 billion last year. Now Apple is taking it one step further by ensuring that users of social media apps have the option to delete their account in the iOS app.
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As of June 30, 2022, the policies for creating and deleting accounts for apps in the App Store have become stricter in order to protect users and their data. Previously, apps could offer to create an account in the app, but direct users to a web page to delete their account and any associated data. This can be burdensome for users and makes it difficult to get rid of their data if they so wish. Now, any application that offers to create an account in the app should also offer to delete an account in the app. The company states that the account deletion page should be clear and transparent, and recommends placing it on the account settings page. In addition to the requirement to delete an account, it also provides a deletion standard in its recommendations for working with applications.
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The developer support notes associated with the updated guide also explain what should be removed when a user requests the deletion of their account. “Deleting an account removes the account from the developer’s records along with all the data associated with the account that the developer is not required to maintain by law,” the page says. “Providing this capability gives people more control over the personal data they have shared.” This means that when users request the deletion of their iOS account, they can expect most or all of their data to be deleted. While Apple states that apps in the App Store may offer alternatives to account deletion — such as account deactivation — they are not enough on their own, and account deletion should be an option in the app.
Social media companies are already starting to update their apps to meet the new App Store review guidelines, and it looks like all apps need to meet the requirements in order to release future updates. The guide states that apps that do not offer in-app account deletion may experience delays when reviewing app updates and releases. On the last day before the new rules came into effect, Instagram updated its app to support account deletion in the app. This option is located in the section “Profile” > “Account” > “Account Deletion” and is an example of what updates for other applications might look like. Thanks to the updated App Store Verification Guide, iOS users will have more control over their data and how to delete it.