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Google forces all Android apps to let users delete their data

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Google has announced that any apps that allow account creation from within the app itself have to allow users to request that their accounts be deleted. The option should be “readily discoverable” both inside and outside the app, meaning that users can request their profiles be deleted even without having to reinstall it in case they’ve already removed the app from their phones. 

The Android maker further goes ahead to state that “temporary account deactivation, disabling or “freezing” the app account does not qualify as account deletion”. In case developers need to retain certain data for legitimate reasons like security, fraud prevention or regulatory compliance, they must “clearly inform” users about their data retention policies. 

Given the massive amount of work it’ll take to implement this change globally, Google is slowly rolling out the change, asking developers to submit answers to new data deletion questions in their app’s Data Safety form by December 7. Developers can also file for an extension via the Google Play Console until May 31, 2024.

Photo by Rafapress / Shutterstock.com
Users will be able to delete their data without reinstalling an app. | Photo by Rafapress / Shutterstock.com

As far as the users are concerned, they should start seeing these changes reflect in the Play Store listings early next year. Google plans to start including the refreshed data deletion badge in the data safety section and the new account deletion area. 

In contrast, Apple already has account deletion requirements in place that started on June 30, 2022, which is quite similar to what Google is implementing now. The requirements ask developers to make the account deletion option easy to find in the app and that it’s insufficient to only provide the ability to temporarily disable or deactivate an account, clearly stating that “people should be able to delete the account along with their personal data”.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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