Apps will have to add privacy nutrition labels for Apple from December 8
Apple added some privacy features to iOS 14 which included a ‘nutrition label' concept that did not roll out with the launch of the new operating system in September. Apple has now announced that developers will have to provide information for those ‘labels' starting December 8.
Just like nutrition labels that list ingredients and calorie content of food and drinks, these ‘privacy' labels will tell you what's going on inside the app and what data they are going to collect before you download it from the App Store or the Mac App Store. The labels are going to list what information the app collects and will list that information visually on the app page.
While in theory this is perfect and developers have to continue releasing and updating this information, all the information developers provide will be self-reported which leaves scope for foul play.
Apple's Developer site has ‘cautioned' developers that they will be required to disclose all the information they and their third-party partners collect and they will also have to keep these labels updated.
So, if an app needs to know your location, you will know that before you download that app. If an app then removes GPS functionality, the labels will have to be updated to reflect that too.
The Verge reports that Apple does offer some exceptions to these label disclosures that are optional but the “important thing to know that if an app intends to track you consistently, you'll know about it before it's on your phone”.
These labels are easier-to-digest way to keep users informed about how their phone is being used to track them. Apple already manages permissions inside the app and these labels will work as an earlier line of defense.
Developers can start submitting their apps' information from now ahead of the December 8 deadline.