Google Play PolicyBytes - April 2022 policy updates

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Hi, Im Theresa, Product Marketing Manager for Android and Google Play.

Welcome to Google Play Policy Bytes.

And thank you for joining us today.

Well cover new policies, recent updates and key reminders.

Lets start with the new Target API Level and Request Install Package policies.

Google Play partners or developers like you to deliver the worlds most innovative and trusted apps to billions of people.

In addition to our tools and policies, we launched new Android OS versions to improve privacy, security and user experience.

People around the world have devices that run on different Android versions.

So every app has a Target API Level written their code to tell their app how to run on these different versions.

And as people use newer devices or update their Android OS, we want to make sure that we meet their expectation for better security and privacy.

So we already require new apps and app updates to target Android API level within one year of the latest major Android OS version release.

New app and app updates that dont meet this requirement are blocked from submission in the Play Developer Console.

Today, were launching a new policy to further protect users.

Starting November 1, existing apps need to target an API level within two years of the latest major Android OS version release in order for new users with devices running more recent versions of Android OS to discover or install those apps from Google Play.

This means that if your app has a Target API Level thats older than the latest three Android OS versions, these new users will not be able to find or install your app from Google Play.

Your users who already installed your app from Google Play will continue to be able to discover, reinstall and use your app on any device running an Android OS version that your app supports.

Most of the apps on Google Play already meet these standards.

But we know this may require substantial change for some developers, so were giving a longer grace period.

If you need more time, youll also be able to request an optional six month extension on your Google Play Developer Console later this year.

Next, were introducing the Request Install Package policy to give users better protection and control over apps that may self-update or download harmful APKs.

The Request Install Package permission allows an app to request the installation of app packages.

In order to use this permission, the core functionality of your app must include sending or receiving app packages, and enabling user initiated installation of app packages.

Here are some examples of permitted functionalities: web browsing or search, communication services that support attachments, file sharing, transfer or management, and enterprise device management.

Now lets talk about our recent updates on News, User Generated Content and Accessibility Policies.

Starting with News, were expanding the scope of this policy to cover more news apps that are currently falling outside of the policy.

Before this change, the News policy only covered those that declared themselves as news in the Google Play Console.

Now were expanding the policy scope to also include news apps that list themselves under the News and Magazines category on the Play Store, and describe themselves as news in the app title, icon, developer name or description.

We are also updating the policy to allow one method of listed contact information instead of requiring two, and to allow original publishers to omit listing authors for every article.

Please note that links to social media accounts are not sufficient forms for publisher contact information.

Next, to support diversity of content within User Generated Content platforms, apps under the UGC category that allow incidental sexual content on their platforms need to implement stricter moderation mechanisms.

They must also meet all of the following requirements.

This content must be hidden by default, behind filters that require at least two user actions in order to be completely disabled.

Children must be explicitly prohibited from accessing your app by using age screening systems such as a neutral age screen.

And you must have provided accurate responses to the content rating questionnaire regarding user generated content.

And last, to provide more security protection for users, were clarifying that Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.

To use this API, your app must be publicly declared in your app listing as an Accessibility tool.

Now, lets share some key reminders.

Lets start with the Data Safety Section, which is an upcoming feature in your apps Play Store listing, where you can share how your app collects, shares and protects user data.

As developers have been filling out their form in Play Console since last year, weve received some questions and shared new updates with you.

So wed like to take the time to clarify information today.

First, weve extended the timeline to give developers more time to review the updates and make changes.

Were launching this new feature in Google Play Store later this month.

If your information isnt approved yet, then it will show No Information Available.

Completed Data Safety forms will be required for all new app submissions and app updates starting July 20.

We also have some tips and reminders to make this a smoother process for you.

First, all apps must have a privacy policy thats posted in the Google Play Console and within the app itself.

Even apps that dont collect or share user data need a privacy policy.

And second, make sure to check if your SDKs or third party libraries collect or handle any data.

If they do, youll need to declare this in your form.

And third, if youd like to work on the form offline, or submit a form for multiple apps at once, you can download a sample CSV file, complete it and then import it back into your Play Console.

Please also check out our Help Center at this link to read FAQs and find additional resources to help you fill out your form.

Like our developer guide on how to check your apps declared permissions, APIs and libraries.

Since March 1, you can go into the Data Safety form in Console to add optional badges to showcase how you protect user data in your Data Safety Section in the Play Store.

If youre in our Families Policy, you can choose to add this badge to show that youre committed to following our Families Policy.

If youre in our Independent Security Review beta program, and your app has been independently validated against a global security standard, you can choose to add this batch to highlight your additional security practices.

This is an optional program that will expand to more developers in a couple months.

And if your app doesnt share any data, or doesnt collect any data from third parties, well highlight that for users here.

And for a full list of recent policy updates, please visit

Now lets talk about upcoming policy deadlines.

The Data Safety Section will launch on Google Play Store in late September.

All developers must have their Data Safety form approved and include a privacy policy by July 20.

We have been mindful to give developers more time for policy changes that may take more work.

So developers have until July 11 to comply with a new Request Install Package policy, and October 11 to comply with the User Generated Content policy updates.

And all apps must comply with the Target API Level policy by November.

But if you need more time, youll soon be able to request an extension until May 2023.

To get a full view of all of our upcoming deadlines, please visit our Policy Center.

We encourage you to review these policy updates carefully in case any of these updates impact our apps.

I hope this helped you better understand our policies.

For free courses on all things Google Play policy, visit our Google Play Academy at

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to make Google Play a trustworthy platform for everyone.

Until next time, stay safe and healthy out there.

Android Developers: Google Play PolicyBytes - April 2022 policy updates - Search engine optimization