New App Store Review Guidelines aim to better protect kids, gamblers

Apple's new guidelines for apps contain significant changes to apps targeting children and gambling apps.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor
A peek at the new App Store Review Guidelines - Jason O'Grady

Apple is out with its App Store Review Guidelines, which contain significant changes to apps targeting children and gambling apps.

MacRumors noted that Apple has clarified its guidelines on apps targeted at children in light of its upcoming educational policy changes and the expansion of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA):

COPPA's new rules prevent developers from collecting information from children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent. While developers were previously limited from collecting information like name, address, and telephone number, COPPA now restricts access to photographs, video, and audio, as well.

The new guidelines (specifically 17.4) prohibit kids' apps from collecting photos, video, and audio without parental consent, dictate that they must include a privacy policy, include no behavioral ads, and require parental permission before purchase.

17.3 Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children's privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user's age.

17.4 Apps that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information (eg, name, address, email, location, photos, videos, drawings, persistent identifiers, the ability to chat, or other personal data) from a minor must comply with applicable children's privacy statutes.

In addition to the sweeping changes regarding children's apps, Apple has added two new guidelines that apply to gaming/gambling/casino apps. Apps that offer real-money gaming are now required to be free in the App Store, and are prohibited from using in-app purchases (IAP) to offer players credit or currency to use in such games.

20.5 Apps that offer real-money gaming (eg, sports betting, poker, casino games, horse racing) must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the app is used, must be restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store.

20.6 Apps that use IAP to purchase credit or currency to use in conjunction with real-money gaming will be rejected.

Both changes are obvious improvements, and Apple needs to continue to tweak its policies to protect its users and itself.

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