Apple Will Require Apps to Make It Easy to Delete Your Account

Apple Will Require Apps to Make It Easy to Delete Your Account
Photo: CHRIS DELMAS / Contributor, Getty Images

Deleting a third-party app on your Apple device isn’t exactly rocket science — in fact, it’s as easy as clicking a button. But just because you delete the app doesn’t mean that the account you set up within that app is gone for good. Starting Jan. 31, 2022, Apple will be requiring third-party developers to streamline that process.

In an update posted to its developer website on Wednesday, Apple announced that it will soon begin reinforcing an update posted to its App Store Review Guidelines last June that stipulates that “all apps that allow for account creation must also allow users to initiate deletion of their account from within the app.”

In many cases, app developers design their account deletion mechanisms to ensure that the process is as labour-intensive as possible, oftentimes intentionally kicking users over to a browser form or, god forbid, directing them to actually send someone an email in order to initiate the deletion of their accounts. It is important to note that Apple’s language is rather nebulous here, however — “initiate” could simply mean that apps are required to start the deletion process in-app, but are eventually allowed t0 send users on a wild goose chase in order to make sure it actually happens.

The new requirement comes on the heels of other recently announced updates to the App Store’s guidelines, including ramped up enforcement of “repeated manipulative or misleading behaviour or other fraudulent conduct,” fraud and other app quality concerns. Apple is also moving to tamp down on “‘hookup’ apps that may include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution,” as well as apps that facilitate the legal sale of cannabis, which must now officially be “geo-restricted to the corresponding legal jurisdiction.”

In addition to the new guidelines, Apple has also recently rolled out a new-and-improved ‘Report a Problem’ button, which was gone for years but is now back from the dead. With the new button, users can more easily alert the company to apps that seem likely to be scams, whereas the previous system had only allowed users to report “a quality issue.”