Soon, you'll no longer have to reinstall Android apps to delete linked accounts
Google announced an Android policy change today that is introducing improvements regarding the deletion of accounts created in apps on Android. Once the policy takes effect, Android app developers and publishers need to support options to delete accounts inside their Android applications and also on the Web.
A common problem currently with many apps is that users can't delete accounts unless they still have access to the Android application. If the app was removed from an Android device in the past, sometimes the only option to delete the account is to reinstall the app to request the removal of the account.
Some developers may already offer web-based options to delete accounts and data, but others don't.
The new account policy comes into effect in early 2024, but developers may request an extension until May 31, 2024 to comply with the new policy. All Android app developers have until December 7, 2023 to add information to their application's Data Safety form.
The Data Safety form is a a mandatory form that developers need to fill out. It offers information on data collection and security practices. The data is not verified on submission, but Google reserves the right to verify it; this may happen if an application is reported to Google.
The new section of the Data Safety form includes data deletion questions, which will show up in the Data Safety section on Google Play starting "early next year" according to Google's announcement.
The new data deletion policy emphasizes that developers need to delete data that is associated with the account, when a user requests its deletion. Developers may, however, give users choices when it comes to the deletion. Google notes that a developer might give users options to delete only certain types of data, and not the entire account.
Developers who need to retain data for legitimate purposes, including for fraud prevention or regulatory compliance, need to disclose this to the user upfront.
Google follows Apple in introducing the account policy. Apple implemented a similar policy last year. Apple ecosystem developers need to offer account deletion within the application, if they support account creation.
The new account policy comes into effect in the first half of 2024. That's another year from now, but developers need the time to implement web-based systems for account and data deletions. The implantation of the policy is an improvement for Android users, who sometimes have troubles finding a way to delete an account, even if the app the account was created in is still installed on the device.