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App tracking transparency now prescribed in app store rules: effectiveness must be proven

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Apple has codified the new app tracking transparency in its App Store guidelines for developers. All apps must comply with these in the future; every developer must accept them when adding a new app to the App Store or submitting an update for an existing app. It remains to be seen how effectively violations will be sanctioned.

Apple has now made its new specification for app tracking transparency mandatory in its App Store guidelines. These are in section 5.2.1 for developers to see. Apple stipulates here that the developer must obtain the user’s consent for tracking his behavior through his app. Only then does he get access to the new interface for app tracking that Apple is introducing and which is called ATT.

All developers must agree to these new App Store guidelines, the amended version of which will take effect in spring, probably at the same time as the release of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, which went into the first beta yesterday.

How tight will Apple control?

This new requirement is an important building block in Apple’s pro data protection policy, but it may face a problem similar to the new data protection labels that have been mandatory in the App Store since early December. Given the abundance of apps, Apple will probably have a hard time checking whether all developers are adhering to the guidelines; the data protection labels are already in place after a short time large deficits were noticed. After all, should developers violate the requirement and Apple becomes aware of this, there is a risk of being kicked out of the App Store after a warning.

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