Google Not Updating Its iOS Apps to Avoid Privacy Labels [Update: Google Responds]

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Google has over a dozen apps on the iOS App Store that it tends to update periodically with bug fixes and new features. However, as a new report highlights, Google has not updated any of its apps on the iOS App Store for almost a month.

App updates usually do slow down around the holiday season with App Store Connect also being unavailable towards the year-end but one month is still a long time for Google to update its apps.

The reason behind the lack of app updates from Google boils down to the introduction of privacy labels on the App Store. Google last updated its iOS apps on December 7, just a day before Apple’s new policy came into effect that requires all new apps and app updates to be submitted with privacy label information filled in.

By getting in all its existing apps’ updates on or before December 7, Google has managed to avoid filling out a privacy label for any of their apps so far.

Apple did receive a bit of backlash for privacy labels but still went ahead with the change. Privacy labels are showed on an app’s listing page on the App Store and it highlights how developers collect user data and use it. As of now, if you check the App Store listing of any Google app, the privacy label will show the message “No Details Provided. The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.”

By not rolling out updates for its iOS apps, Google has so far managed to avoid filing privacy label information for its apps. However, with the App Store regulations barring updates from any other source, it is only a matter of time before Google is forced to update its apps — be it for bug-fixes or for adding new features.

Update: Google has issued a statement to TechCrunch confirming its plans to add privacy label information to its iOS apps. The company will be rolling out iOS app updates starting as soon as this week itself.

[Via FastCompany]