Apple tweaks App Store rule changes for children’s apps and sign-in services – TechCrunchSeptember 12, 2019
Originally announced in June, changes to Apple’s App Store policies on its Sign in with Apple service and the rules around children’s app categories are being tweaked. New apps must comply right away with the tweaked terms, but existing apps will have until early 2020 to comply with the new rules.
The changes announced at Apple’s developer conference in the summer were significant, and raised concerns among developers that the rules could handicap their ability to do business in a universe that, frankly, offers tough alternatives to ad-based revenue for children’s apps.
In a short interview with TechCrunch, Apple’s Phil Schiller said that they had spent time with developers, analytics companies and advertising services to hear what they had to say about the proposals, and have made some updates.
The changes are garnering some strong statements of support from advocacy groups and advertising providers for children’s apps that were pre-briefed on the tweaks. The changes will show up as of this morning in Apple’s developer guidelines.
“As we got closer to implementation we spent more time with developers, analytics companies and advertising companies,” said Schiller. “Some of them are really forward-thinking and have good ideas and are trying to be leaders in this space too.”
With their feedback, Schiller said, they’ve updated the guidelines to allow them to be more applicable to a broader number of scenarios. The goal, he said, was to make the guidelines easy enough for developers to adopt while being supportive of sensible policies that parents could buy into. These additional guidelines, especially around the Kids app category, says Schiller, outline scenarios that may not be addressed by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or GDPR regulations.
There are two main updates.
The first area that is getting further tweaking is the Kids’ terms. Rule sections 1.3 and 5.1.4 specifically are being adjusted after Apple spoke with developers and providers of ad and analytics services about their concerns over the past few months.
Both of those rules are being updated to add more nuance to their language around third-party services like ads and analytics. In June, Apple announced a very hard-line version of these rule updates that essentially outlawed any third-party ads or analytics software and prohibited any data transmission to third-parties. The new rules offer some opportunities for developers to continue to integrate these into their apps, but also sets out explicit constraints for them.
The big changes come in section 1.3 surrounding data safety in the Kids category. Apple has removed the explicit restriction on including any third-party advertising or analytics. This was the huge hammer that developers saw heading toward their business models.
Instead, Apple has laid out a much more nuanced proposal for app developers. Specifically, it says these apps should not include analytics…