Google is introducing a new Play Store rule that requires apps to have an “easily find option” to delete your account, both in the app itself and on the web. In a blog post on Wednesdaythe company says the change is intended to give users “greater clarity and control over their in-app data.”
The rule applies to apps that allow you to create an account, and Google is trying to ensure that users don’t have to re-download an app because they deleted it before requesting that their account be deleted as well. The company plans to add a field to the Google Play Store that will link users to the account deletion web address.
There are some caveats to the policy that developers should be aware of. It explicitly says that temporarily deactivating or freezing a user’s account is not enough to fulfill the requirement, which also specifies that developers must delete users’ data along with their account unless they have “legitimate reasons” have to keep it. (That includes legal or security requirements, though developers must disclose how they keep users’ data.)
Given that this is a relatively large change that will require some developers to do some work, it won’t take effect immediately. The company says the “first step” requires developers to add more information about their data deletion practices by December 7 using Google’s existing data security form. Users will be able to see how an app handles deletion of accounts and data “early next year”, though developers can apply for an extension until May 31, 2024.
Google isn’t the first company to introduce this kind of requirement. Apple announced a similar policy in October 2021, and it went into effect in June 2022. The App Store rule has similar requirements and caveats, though it doesn’t mandate that users must also be able to delete their accounts over the web.