In an effort to enhance data safety and user privacy, Google is introducing new data protection policies for all Android apps available on the Google Play Store. Starting now, apps that allow account creation must also provide users with an option to request account deletion.

The announcement highlights Google’s ongoing commitment to data safety in the Play Store. Previously, the Data safety section only required developers to declare that users could request data deletion. With the new policy, developers must ensure that the account deletion option is easily discoverable both within the app and on external platforms, such as the web. This means users should be able to request account and data deletion without needing to reinstall an app.

Developers are required to provide Google with links for account deletion, which will then be displayed directly in the app listing on the Play Store. The policy mandates that developers delete all user data associated with the app account when a deletion request is made. Temporary account deactivation, disabling, or “freezing” does not qualify as account deletion. If developers need to retain certain data for legitimate reasons like security, fraud prevention, or regulatory compliance, they must clearly inform users about their data retention practices, such as through a privacy policy.

Recognizing the effort developers will need to put into meeting these requirements, Google is gradually rolling out this policy. Developers are asked to submit answers to new Data deletion questions in their app’s Data Safety form by December 7. Early next year, Google Play users will begin to see changes reflected in the app’s store listing, including a refreshed data deletion badge in the Data safety section and a new Data deletion area.

Google is also providing developers with the option to file for an extension through the Play Console, with the deadline for extensions set at May 31, 2024. This move signals Google’s dedication to user privacy and data protection, raising the bar for app developers on the platform.