Apple Softens App Store Guidelines Related to Third-Party Ads in Kids Apps and ‘Sign in With Apple’

Apple today updated its App Store Review Guidelines with changes to third-party advertising and analytics in kids apps, as well as additional criteria for when apps are required to use Sign in with Apple.

Kids apps

The guidelines now state that, in limited cases, third-party analytics may be permitted in kids apps provided that the services do not collect or transmit any identifiable information about children, such as their name, date of birth, email address, location, or unique device identifier.

Apple says third-party advertising may also be permitted in limited cases, provided that the services have publicly documented practices and policies for kids apps, including human review of ad creatives for age appropriateness.

Apple had previously implied that no third-party ads or analytics would be permitted in kids apps whatsoever, but several developers of kids apps expressed concerns that this would harm their business models, leading Apple to delay the requirements and make the changes announced today.

Moreover, apps in the App Store’s Kids category or those that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information from a minor must include a privacy policy and must comply with all applicable children’s privacy statutes, such as the U.S.’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Newly submitted kids apps must follow these guidelines immediately, while existing apps will have until March 3, 2020 to be fully compliant, according to Apple.

“As we got closer to implementation we spent more time with developers, analytics companies and advertising companies,” Apple’s marketing and App Store chief Phil Schiller told TechCrunch. “Some of them are really forward thinking and have good ideas and are trying to be leaders in this space too.”

‘Sign in with Apple’ criteria

Meanwhile, as previously announced, apps that exclusively use a third-party or social login service such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, or WeChat to set up or authenticate a user’s primary account within the app must also offer Sign in with Apple as an equivalent option.


However, Apple has now clarified that Sign in with Apple is not required if:

– Your app exclusively uses your company’s own account setup and sign-in systems.
– Your app is an education, enterprise, or business app that requires the user to sign in with an existing education or enterprise account.
– Your app uses a government or industry-backed citizen identification system or electronic ID to authenticate users.
– Your app is a client for a specific third-party service and users are required to sign in to their mail, social media, or other third-party account directly to access their content.

Starting today, new apps submitted to the App Store must follow these guidelines for Sign in with Apple. Existing apps must follow them by April 2020.