Apple also requires the account deletion option to be easy to find and it does not allow replacing it with a deactivation option. Instead, the option must allow the complete deletion of personal data. App companies that do not comply with this new policy, are at risk of being delisted and losing access to 1 billion users!

What does the Apple in-app deletion requirement mean for businesses and users?

Apple’s requirements are ground-breaking in terms of user privacy. But the fact that Apple is the first major for-profit company to impose such widespread regulations, and especially because many companies rely on the App Store for their business emphasizes how significant this change is for the global landscape.

So, what will be this new policy’s impact?

Extending Privacy Rights for Users

Government regulations like GDPR, CCPA, CPA and PIPEDA changed how we think of privacy. Over the past year, they have cemented the understanding that citizens and consumers have the right to privacy and businesses are charged with ensuring this– but is it enough?

This new act by Apple might be the beginning of the real change, with additions that positively impact users’ right to privacy even further. This latterly means that from now on, privacy regulations are not only the rights of citizens depending on how “lucky” they were to be born in certain geography but of anyone who chooses to use Apple.

Apple is Becoming a Private Regulator

With this update, Apple is signalling that it is becoming a self-appointed regulator, of the same calibre as some of the strongest governments in the world. In fact, Apple continues its path of marketing itself as a “Privacy First” leader. By extending governmental privacy regulations, Apple is giving more power to end-users, despite the initial inconvenience this might cause its business customers.

Businesses’ Revenue Could Be Impacted

If a business relies on its iOS app for revenue, not complying with the in-app deletion requirement could have a significant negative financial impact. Failure to complete the deletion updates could result in the removal of the app for the App Store, immediately wiping revenue from a business’s books. On the other hand, apps that do comply might be bumped higher to replace those that haven’t, giving the app more visibility and potentially a higher revenue stream. But this isn’t the easiest task for small businesses and for those who aren’t required to comply with various regulations or that the regulations are not updated, such as in Israel. For years companies have collected data even just for the sake of collecting it and finding where it is and deleting it can cost over $1,400 according to Gartner.

Serious food for thought

These three changes require businesses to change the way they think about privacy as it is not expected to sum up with the amount mentioned above. The expected impact of not being listed in the app store could be the incentive for many of the 1.96 million app owners to start doing so as they will lose a major source of income.

Beyond Apple

There is a global privacy movement that is expected to grow even more, and businesses should prepare for this. Apple’s announcement shows how much power the global privacy movement has gained. Once a side topic covered mainly by academia or digital aficionados, privacy now has significant traction and is becoming a global standard. This is due to increasing new global regulations, and the growing volumes of data breaches, which have made users significantly more aware of their personal data– and thanks to COVID-19.

This new awareness increased the number of Privacy requests (Data Subject Requests and Data Subject Access Requests) made by users. Apple’s changes give half a billion weekly visitors the ability to make such requests at the click of a button which means they are likely to increase globally– businesses need to prepare for this. This means that apps that did not have to manage many requests in the past and could deal with the privacy workload manually, risk not being able to afford to do so anymore. Otherwise, they might find themselves spending precious time and money on manually dealing with these privacy requests and responding to consumer complaints or worse, in case of non-compliance, getting delisted or fined.

There’s no better time than now to step up privacy infrastructure and efficiently automate privacy request workflows, so you don’t depend on manual workflows. This makes request management easy and efficient. There are tech solutions that can provide automated request handling flow to cope with the in-app deletion and companies should use them.

Written by Gal Ringel, CEO & co-founder, Mine