iOS and apps with user accounts

Although it was not remotely the most relevant announcement of WWDC 2021, at that time Apple announced a new rule for iOS that, with a reasonable period of adaptation, should be taken into account by app developers. A change that, from the point of view of the user, is a success, but surely many services did not like it at all, which is why we have reached this moment, a little over a year after that announcement, with many iOS apps with homework yet to be done.

Apple’s requirement for developers is none other than to offer users the option to remove your accounts from the service directly from the iOS app. For example, a Facebook user should be able to delete their account from Meta’s social network without having to leave the application. These are the conditions raised by Apple to developers:

  • The account deletion option should be easy to find in your app.
  • If your application offers the Apple Sign In service, you will need to use the Apple Sign In REST API to revoke user tokens when deleting an account.
  • It is not enough to only offer the possibility to temporarily deactivate an account. People should be able to delete the account along with their personal data.
  • Apps in highly regulated industries may provide additional customer support flows to confirm and facilitate the account deletion process.
  • Comply with applicable legal requirements for the storage and retention of user account information, and for managing account deletion. This includes compliance with local laws in different countries or regions. As always, consult your legal advisor.

It seems to me especially noteworthy the third point, and deactivating an account is not the same as deleting it, since in the first case the company providing the service will maintain the user account and, consequently, all of its data. In addition, access to this function must be simple, that is, Apple will not accept that to reach this function it is necessary to navigate through an ocean of menus. Ideally, it should have the same accessibility as the options to create an account and to sign in.

Since the announcement took place at WWDC 2021, Apple granted a period of just over half a year to iOS app developers, setting a deadline on January 31, 2022. However, we can understand that due to the delay on the part of the developers, decided to extend the term until June 30ie today. And unlike what happened with the first term, this time it seems that there will be no new extension.

And what will happen from today? Apple has not yet said what will happen to applications that do not comply with the regulations. However, widespread speculation is that future updates will be blocked of those applications or even could be removed from the store of apps for iOS, at least until they incorporate this function.

More information: Apple

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