Google Play Store Apps Are Getting Privacy Policies in 2022

Image for article titled Google Will Require All Apps on the Play Store to Have a Privacy Policy Starting in April 2022

Photo: Sam Rutherford

Earlier this spring, Google announced the development of a new safety section coming to the Play Store next year, and today Google is now following up with more details on the kind of information apps will be required to provide including new mandatory privacy policies.

Google says that by announcing guidelines for its safety section now, Google hopes app developers will have enough time to respond to upcoming changes before the safety section officially goes live in Q1 2022. And while Google is still figuring out the final design of the safety section, it has also provided some early mock-ups of what it might look like ahead of its arrival next year.

Play Store safety section preview

Here’s an early sample from Google of what an app’s safety section might look like.
Image: Google

Because Google’s new safety section is intended to more clearly provide info about a specific app’s privacy and security, things like how your data is being used and accessed will need to be clearly listed along with info on whether data collection is required for an app to work or not. Furthermore, all of this info is expected to be available on every app listing in the Play Store, so users can get a sense of an app’s privacy and security before they install it.

But most importantly, starting next year in April 2022, Google says “All developers must provide a privacy policy,” including both third-party apps and first-party apps from Google. For app developers, Google says it will start accepting information for an app’s safety section starting in October, with the final deadline set for Q2 2022.

Google Play safety section timeline.

Here’s Google’s timeline for the rollout of the Play Store’s safety section relevant deadlines.
Image: Google

For devs that aren’t able to provide an approved security section in time, Google says any new apps or app updates from that dev may get rejected, with the safety section for non-compliant apps set to display a line saying “No information available.” That means when the Play Store’s safety section finally arrives, it should be quite clear which apps were able to provide a fleshed-out safety section and which apps did not. Previously, privacy policies were only required for family-friendly apps in the Play Store.

But, clearly, the bigger picture is that with an increased focus on digital privacy and security, Google is hoping to make it easier to see and understand how your data is being used across all your apps, which is a change that should be good for both regular folk and developers alike.

For what it’s worth, Apple has required a privacy policy for apps in the App Store since 2018.