Google announced a new account deletion policy for Android apps today, which means that apps that offer account creation must have an easy way to delete the account as well. The company said that it will start enforcing this policy sometime early next year. This move follows Apple, which implemented a similar policy on June 30, 2022 for apps on the App Store.
The company said that it will ask developers to answer questions regarding their app’s data deletion in the Data Safety form by December 7. The developer responses in the form are reflected in Google Play’s Data Safety section, which provides users with information about an app’s data collection practices in the form of labels.
Google mentioned that with this new policy, the company will tweak the Data Safety section on the Play Store to better reflect the data controls available to them. The search giants said that sometime early next year users will start seeing data deletion badges on Google Play on apps that have completed their forms and modified their code to allow account deletion.
The search giant said that apps must provide “an option to initiate account and data deletion from within the app and online” and the feature should be easily discoverable. Plus, the policy also requires developers to delete the user data from their servers on account deletion. If a developer needs to keep user data for specific reasons, they must specify that in the app.
“As the new policy states, when you fulfill a request to delete an account, you must also delete the data associated with that account. The feature also gives developers a way to provide more choice: users who may not want to delete their account entirely can choose to delete other data only where applicable (such as activity history, images, or videos). For developers that need to retain certain data for legitimate reasons such as security, fraud prevention, or regulatory compliance, you must disclose those data retention practices,” Google said in its announcement.
The company will provide an extended grace period until May 31, 2024, for developers who might need some time to implement this. But they will need to explicitly apply for it through the Google Play console.