Educational App Store Certification and Privacy Policies

Is your app's privacy policy making these mistakes? Easily fixed mistakes could be losing your app sales.

Since educational apps first hit mobile devices, there have been significant changes in laws governing software aimed at kids.

Our expert reviewers have taken on board this evolution, and as part of our certification process, they pay close attention to each app's privacy policy.  Over time, they've spotted some common mistakes that while easy to put right, could make the difference between a parent or school buying your app or not.

If you have an app on the market or in development, check you haven't made these mistakes.

  • Broken Privacy Policy Links.  You should have a privacy policy link on each app store, your app's website, and an internal link within your app.  We've seen apps where the privacy policy exists, but one or more link URLs need to be corrected.  
  • Too many features.  Some developers have tried to cover all possibilities by having a policy on features irrelevant to their apps.  In particular, when we see a privacy policy saying how it processes geolocation data, we have to question why that app is tracking the user.  In many cases, it is not, but the developer has used a generic clause.  
  • Mismatching Privacy Policies.  Try to minimise the risk of this by using as few separate access points as possible.  Your app store link and your website should use the same URL.  If you use a web view in your apps, they can pick up the same page, giving a single document to maintain.  If your Android and iOS apps hold the privacy policy internally, remember to update both simultaneously.
  • Poor understanding.  You'll need to meet the standards of each region in which your app is available.  Two main ones are the US's COPPA and the EU/UK GDPR.  They have considerable overlap but also distinct differences.  For example, the GDPR expects minimal data capture that could conflict with some methods of meeting COPPA's standards.
  • Simplicity.  Your privacy policy must meet the legal requirements, which can result in a weighty text full of legalese.  Our expert reviewers know that parents appreciate a clear synopsis that lets them check the basics that they hold important.  For example, your app's approach to social media, geolocation, and personal details is good to put here.  Always refer parents to the detailed document for the full details, though.

As an educational app developer, you must meet high standards.  These guidelines will help you avoid common mistakes, but you should seek appropriate legal advice to ensure your app meets relevant laws.

You'll also better meet the needs of potential customers.  Schools need to know your app meets legal requirements and their policies.  Parents need to feel that their kids' data and well-being are protected.  Our expert reviewers want your app to succeed and not miss out on five stars due to a privacy policy error.

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