Apple is continuing its privacy drive with more regulations on the way in regards to the use of privacy manifests. These are a part of modern iOS privacy features first introduced in June 2023 and, according to Apple, provide developers with transparency on how third-party SKDs work, the types of data collected and more.
Importantly, Apple is now looking to close any loopholes in the more popular iOS SDKs in a continued privacy clampdown. A vague date of "Spring 2024" necessitates developers hurrying to be prepared, lest they risk being booted from Apple’s App Store next year.
Saving private users
Apple’s focus on privacy has been clear for years now, with the biggest shakeup coming when App Tracking Transparency was introduced on iOS 14 and became enforced on iOS 14.5. From developers’ perspectives, fears of "fortressification" were abound, and crackdowns have only continued since.
The latest is Apple’s tireless effort to work through any loopholes in popular SDKs which can "impact user privacy in ways that aren’t obvious", but Apple has warned that developers are responsible for any privacy breeches, knowingly or otherwise.
Though developers will need to provide their own privacy manifest files, they won’t be required to cover third-party SDK data collection by kits their games link to.
"Starting in spring 2024, you must include the privacy manifest [for any listed SDK] when you submit new apps in App Store Connect that include those SDKs, or when you submit an app update that adds one of the listed SDKs as part of the update," Apple explained in its Developer Support post.
"Signatures are also required in these cases where the listed SDKs are used as binary dependencies. Any version of a listed SDK [full list below] as well as any SDKs that repackage those on the list, are included in the requirement."
Despite iOS users' ability to deny data collection since 2021, 44% of hypercasual gamers are still choosing to opt in.