New iOS 8 App Store guidelines are designed to protect your privacy


iOS App Store.
New App Store guidelines are in place to protect user data.

Apple is constantly looking to improve the App Store experience, and ahead of the long-awaited release of the iPhone 6 and public version of iOS 8, it is doubling its efforts.

With these two landmark events coming up rapidly, the company has updated its App Store review guidelines to add all-new sections dealing with features such as HealthKit, HomeKit and TestFlight, extensions and more.

Reflecting Apple’s recent changes to its HealthKit privacy policy, the guidelines note that  “Apps may not use user data gathered from the HealthKit API for advertising or other use-based data mining purposes other than improving health, medical, and fitness management, or for the purpose of medical research” and that “Apps that share user data acquired via the HealthKit API with third parties without user consent will be rejected.”

In terms of HomeKit the guidelines state how “Apps using the HomeKit framework must have a primary purpose of providing home automation services” and that “Apps using data gathered from the HomeKit API for purposes other than improving the user experience or hardware/software performance in providing home automation functionality will be rejected.”

TestFlight (referring to the popular app testing beta platform which Apple acquired in February) guidelines say that “Apps using TestFlight must be submitted for review whenever a build contains material changes to content or functionality” and that “Apps using TestFlight may not be distributed to testers in exchange for compensation of any kind.”

Finally, extensions note that apps hosting extensions must feature help screens, are barred from including advertising or in-app purchases, must remain functional without network access, and may only collect user data for the benefit of the user.

On top of this, Apple reserves the right to get rid of perceived “creepy” apps.

While this is all partly a way of ensuring that the App Store remains one of the least cluttered, most accessible apps stores around (its curated model was recently seized on by Microsoft to overhaul its own app store) it’s also a great way of differentiating Apple’s services from that of a company like Google, which relies on user data to fuel its ad-driven revenue.

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