Apple has lifted the requirement for apps to offer ‘Sign in with Apple’ support. Developers will no longer be obligated to integrate this feature, marking a significant shift in the App Store guidelines. Apple emphasizes the importance of providing additional login services with enhanced privacy features, ensuring a more flexible approach for app creators. This decision is set to reshape the landscape for app development, granting developers greater autonomy in user authentication methods.
This transformative decision was unveiled as part of a series of updates to the App Store guidelines. The previous mandate dictated that apps utilizing third-party log-in options, such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter, must also include the ‘Sign in with Apple’ feature. However, Apple has now revised this guideline, no longer making it mandatory for developers to integrate this specific sign-in method.
“Apps that use a third-party or social login service (such as Facebook Login, Google Sign-In, Sign in with Twitter, Sign In with LinkedIn, Login with Amazon, or WeChat Login) to set up or authenticate the user’s primary account with the app must also offer Sign in with Apple as an equivalent option. A user’s primary account is the account they establish with your app for the purposes of identifying themselves, signing in, and accessing your features and associated services.”
The modification, while liberating for developers, does come with certain conditions. Instead of enforcing the use of ‘Sign in with Apple,’ developers are now required to offer an alternative login service that adheres to specific privacy features. The alternative login service should limit data collection to the user’s name and email address, allow users to maintain the privacy of their email address during the account setup, and abstain from tracking user interactions within the app.
This alteration, applicable to App Store Guidelines worldwide, aims to strike a balance between user privacy and developer autonomy. Apple, in its press release, emphasized the significance of these changes, underlining the need for additional login services that prioritize user privacy while not mandating a specific sign-in method.
The revised guidelines maintain four specific exceptions where developers are not obligated to offer a privacy-focused login option:
- Apps exclusively using the company’s account setup and sign-in systems.
- Education, enterprise, or business apps requiring users to sign in with existing education or enterprise accounts.
- Apps utilizing government or industry-backed citizen identification systems or electronic IDs for authentication.
- Apps acting as clients for specific third-party services, where users must sign in directly to access their content.
The revision also echoes a previous instance of controversy around the App Store Guidelines for ‘Sign in with Apple.’ The feature, introduced in June 2019, initially faced strict guidelines on its implementation. However, Apple later softened these guidelines in response to developer feedback.
The impact of this recent change is expected to resonate across the app development community, granting developers greater autonomy and flexibility in choosing the most suitable sign-in options for their user base. While ‘Sign in with Apple’ remains a viable choice, the revised guidelines open the door for developers to explore and implement alternative login services that align with enhanced privacy standards.
As the app development landscape continues to evolve, Apple’s decision to remove the mandatory ‘Sign in with Apple’ requirement reflects a commitment to adaptability and user privacy, fostering an environment where developers can innovate with a broader range of authentication methods.