Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Apple has announced that it has started adding the much awaited data collection labels to its iOS App Store, so that users can know what data the app is collecting, furthering its bid for privacy.

The feature was first teased by the company at the Worldwide Developers Conference back in June. Last month the company asked the developers to provide these labels for the applications by December 8th. Apple said that the developers would lose the ability to update their applications if they failed to comply.

According to the company, this feature would be similar to the nutrition label that comes printed on food items. Just as the nutrition label helps customers to know about the nutritional value of the food and its caloric content, these added labels would help to understand what is going on inside the application prior to download from iOS App Store or Mac App Store.

These labels would have information about how an app collects data so that users can know the implications of downloading said app. This feature would be available for all users running the latest version of iOS which is iOS 14. Labels would be available for applications on all of Apple’s platforms- iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The company has also said that the labels would be up to date as developers are required to update the labels every time they upload the application and has to be accurate.

The software that is made by the company itself (1st party apps) would also have these labels on its App Store product page. Incase of nonremovable applications like the messaging app, the company said that a privacy label would be provided on the web page. Developers would also have the liberty to explain the reasons for the data collection.

Apple has divided the data collection into three major categories: “data used to track the user,” “data linked to the user,” and “data not linked to the user.” These would differentiate the levels on which these applications “track” users. “Data used to track the user” is for the applications that take personal information or location which could be used to link the user with data from apps of other companies and can thereafter be used for target marketing or advertisement. “Data linked to the user” is for the applications that require the user to sign in so that the user can be identified. “Data not linked to the user” is for those applications which although might take your data cannot identify the user in any unique manner.