Google will require that Android apps let you delete your account and data

You might not have to worry about leaving sensitive info at risk.

Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Google wants to make it as easy to scrub an app account as it is to create one. The company has announced that Android apps on the Play Store will soon have to let you delete an account and its data both inside the app and on the web. Developers will also have to wipe data for an account when users ask to delete the account entirely.

The move is meant to "better educate" users on the control they have over their data, and to foster trust in both apps and the Play Store at large. It also provides more flexibility. You can delete certain data (such as your uploaded content) without having to completely erase your account, Google says. The web requirement also ensures that you won't have to reinstall an app just to purge your info.

The policy is taking effect in stages. Creators have until December 7th to answer questions about data deletion in their app's safety form. Store listings will start showing the changes in early 2024. Developers can file for an extension until May 31st of next year.

The changes come several months after Apple instituted a similar rule for App Store software. In both cases, the companies are concerned about privacy violations and the ensuing fallout — they don't want users to fall prey to data breaches because they couldn't easily delete accounts or sensitive info when they stop using an app.

This also follows growing efforts by regulators to demand more control over services. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently proposed rule changes requiring easy ways to cancel subscriptions and memberships. While the FTC is focused more on unwanted charges than privacy, the message to app makers is clear: provide more control of accounts or face repercussions.

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