Apple Delays In-App Account Deletion Requirement, Extends In-App Purchases Exception Until June 30


Apple has extended the deadline for requiring developers to provide an in-app account deletion mechanism until June 30. The change, which was announced in October last year, was originally planned to come into effect from January 31. In addition to the extension for in-app account deletion requirements, Apple has extended the guidelines that allow developers to offer purchase methods other than in-app purchases for apps offering realtime person-to-person services between two individuals. The guidelines will now be in place until June 30.

Last year, Apple announced that developers publishing their apps through the App Store will be required to provide a way to users to delete their accounts. The change was initially announced as a part of Apple’s updated developer guidelines that were released at WWDC 2021. It was also meant specifically for the apps that have the function to let users create new accounts.

Apple had said that the change will come into effect for app submissions starting January 31. The company has, however, now extended that move by five months to give developers more time to implement the requirement for account deletion within their apps.

At the time of its original announcement, Apple noted that developers will need to “initiate deletion” of user accounts from their apps. The word “initiate” was believed to enable developers with ways to give alternatives to users over allowing complete deletion at first glance.

However, Apple has now made it clear that developers will have to provide a way for permanent deletion of user accounts through their apps.

“It’s insufficient to only provide the ability to temporarily disable or deactivate an account. People should be able to delete the account along with their personal data,” the requirements mentioned in the latest announcement highlight.

Apps in “highly-regulated industries” are also recommended to provide users with additional support flows to confirm and facilitate the account deletion process.

Developers are also required to follow applicable legal requirements for storing and retaining user account information.

This is notably not the first time when Apple has decided to delay its new rules, as the company did something similar with the App Tracking Transparency feature in the past. The feature was meant to come into force from September 2020, but it launched in April last year.

Alongside the extension given in the case of account deletion enforcement, Apple has extended the revision of its App guidelines that loosen in-app purchase requirements in specific cases. These are mainly for apps that cater to users with person-to-person services between two individuals, such as tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, and fitness training, among others.

“We deferred App Store Review Guideline 3.1.1, which requires apps offering paid online group services to do so via in-app purchase,” the company said. “Given the recent resurgence of COVID and its continued impact on in-person services, we’ve extended the most recent deadline to June 30, 2022.”

Apple initially made that revision public in September 2020 to relax the commission it takes from in-app purchases via the App Store. The temporary change was announced after facing an outage from developers over App Store practices. It was later expanded throughout 2021.

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