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Spurious report claims many App Store apps lack privacy data

A new App Store safety report indicates that many apps lack privacy information, but the study is missing an important piece of context.

Fraud protection firm Pixalate recently analyzed more than 5 million active apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Q1 2022. According to their data, about 10% of apps have no detected privacy policies.

Apple requires apps to submit data about their privacy polices, and show them to consumers in a “nutrition label” format. In the wake of that feature, Google also followed suit on the Play Store.

According to Pixalate, there are 787,000 apps with no stated privacy policies. The firm says that represents 17% of active apps on Google’s app marketplace, and 13% of App Store apps.

However, Pixelate’s report doesn’t include the fact that Apple requires app developers to submit privacy policies with app updates. If an app hasn’t been updated in some time, then it will lack a privacy report.

It’s likely that many of the apps on the App Store are abandoned or no longer updated in general. In some cases, a developer could be intentionally withholding app updates to keep their privacy polices off the record — but that probably isn’t the norm.

Pixalate’s report suggests that 98% of the apps that don’t have stated privacy policies also lack terms of service. It also found that about 5,000 apps on the App Store share end user IP information with advertising bidders.

Apple introduced its so-called “nutrition labels” for privacy details in 2020. AppleInsider

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