Apple had updated its developer policy for apps submitted to the App Store that targets children in a bid to comply with new regulations and to make the digital storefront a friendlier place for kids. The new policies are detailed on Apple’s developer portal and limits the collection of personal data when it comes to apps that are targeted at kids and young children.
Apple’s latest changes to its App Store policy comes from new changes enacted by the Children’s Oline Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which came into effect earlier this year.
As part of the new legislation, new policies will limit the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental agreement. This now extends to the collection of photos, videos, and audio in addition the previous limitation on name, address, and telephone number, expanding the scope of “personal information.”
According to Apple, the company will ask for the date of birth for the sole purpose of COPPA compliance and apps must comply with new COPPA regulations.
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 (e.g. 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.
As Apple is trying to expand into the educational market by getting its products into schools and educational institutions, it is also readying a Kids Apps section for its App Store. The company is now, for the first time, allowing children under the age of 13 to have and maintain an iTunes account. This will come with the launch of iOS 7 this fall, according to MacRumors.
The new push into the youth market comes as competition into the educational space is beginning to heat up. Rival Google, which creates the Android operating system for use on mobile phones and tablets, has recently introduced textbook rentals in its Play Store and Google Play Books app.
Given Apple already tight control over the approval process of apps to ensure that apps are safe for use on iOS devices, the latest changes to make apps even more safe for children could help win over parents when it comes time to select a tablet or phone for educational use.