Apple responds to WhatsApp criticism, privacy information on the App Store will apply equally to all iOS apps including its own

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Apple today assured that its new requirements for App Store privacy information will also apply to all iOS apps, including pre-installed apps for its own iPhone.

This means that dozens of Apple applications available through the App Store, such as Apple Books and Apple Podcasts, will display the same privacy “nutrition labels” as third-party applications.


For built-in iOS applications, such as iMessage, Apple said it will provide users with the same private information on its website. Apple said that this information will be presented in the same way as on the App Store.

This clarification comes as a response to Facebook’s WhatsApp app, accusing Apple of adopting double standards on its privacy labels. WhatsApp also said the privacy labels are unfair as they don’t include enough detailed information.

The first issue that Facebook-owned WhatsApp shared with Axios about Apple’s app privacy labels:

WhatsApp says that the provision is anti-competitive because Apple’s own encrypted messaging service, iMessage, is preinstalled on iPhones and doesn’t need to be downloaded from Apple’s app store, where the privacy labels are now required.

“We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Axios.

“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 has now responded saying that its own apps will follow the same rules (via Axios):

The new rules apply equally to all iOS apps, including all Apple‘s built-in apps like Messages. For iOS apps that don’t have dedicated product pages on the App Store, like Messages, they will still have the same privacy information be made available to users on Apple’s website.


Apple first introduced the privacy labels in its WWDC announcements earlier this year. Starting on December 8, developers must include this new private information when submitting new applications and application updates to the App Store. It’s unclear when the nutrition labels will begin appearing in Apple’s app store.

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