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Apple’s privacy labels are coming to all apps, including its own

Apple’s privacy labels are coming to all apps, including its own


Apps like Messages that aren’t in the App Store will get web-based labels

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple has clarified that its mandatory app privacy “nutrition labels” program will apply to all apps, whether they’re from third-party developers or Apple’s own. It’s an apparent response to criticism from WhatsApp earlier today that the program unfairly favored Apple’s services.

That means Apple’s apps on the App Store will receive similar privacy labels when the program rolls out later this year as third-party apps. And for the few iOS apps that aren’t available in the App Store — like Messages, a particular point of contention for WhatsApp — they will have the same privacy information available on Apple’s website.

The statement follows a complaint from WhatsApp from earlier today in which the messaging service claimed that Apple’s system was unfair, as it would only impact third-party services but not Apple’s preinstalled apps. For its part, Apple had never announced any policy to indicate that its apps would be exempt from the privacy label requirement.

All apps will get privacy labels

“We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people’s private information,” WhatsApp told Axios in a statement earlier today. “While providing people with easy to read information is a good start, we believe it’s important people can compare these ‘privacy nutrition’ labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage.”

Apple first introduced the privacy labels as part of its WWDC announcements earlier this year. The labels — likened to nutrition facts found on food products — will appear in the App Store and give users easy, glanceable breakdowns of the data that developers can collect and track. Developers were required to start submitting labels for their apps starting on December 8th, and the labels themselves are expected to start appearing “later this year.”