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Google Play Policies Update July 27, 2022

The full list of changes can be found at support.google.com

The latest update to Google Play policies affects many aspects of apps: ad serving, subscriptions, permission restrictions, VPN implementation rules, logo usage, etc. In this article, you will find an overview of the basic policy changes.

See also: Best laptop for development

USE_EXACT_ALARM permission will not be available to everyone
Effective July 31, 2023

To publish an application with this permission, you will need to be approved by Google Play. It will be available to applications for which the presence of this permission is necessary for the main functionality. Examples are alarm clocks, timers and calendars.

Instead, it is proposed to use the SCHEDULE_EXACT_ALARM permission (introduced in Android 12), which the user must issue through the special access menu in the system.

The USE_EXACT_ALARM permission was introduced in Android 13 (API Level 33). Details here. This permission is issued automatically when the application is installed, i.e. you don't need to ask the user for permission to use it.

See details here

🔈New rules for displaying fullscreen ads (fullscreen interstitials)
Effective September 30, 2022

Added new guidelines for showing ads in accordance with Better Ads Standards - Mobile Apps Experiences.

Full-screen ads should not interrupt user activities that are not related to the topic of the ad

You cannot show full-screen ads in games at the beginning of the level or when showing the next block of content in applications

Can't show full screen ads in video format before the app is loaded

Any full-screen ad must include an option to close 15 seconds after it's shown. The exception is ad impressions that were initiated by the user or do not interfere with the performance of actions with the application / game

See details here

🔒Requirements to comply with FLAG_SECURE
Effective November 1, 2022

FLAG_SECURE allows you to restrict the display of sensitive data in the application, for example, to prevent taking screenshots or showing them on insecure screens (eg in public places). This flag should be added if the content of the application cannot be shown anywhere other than the application itself.

All applications are now required to respect the presence of FLAG_SECURE in other applications, and must not contribute to or assist in the development of ways around it. Exceptions are accessibility tools (AccessibilityService API) provided that they do not store or cache content under the FLAG_SECURE flag.

See details here

🚇 The VPNServices class can now only be used by VPN services
Effective November 1, 2022

VPNService is a base class that allows you to create your own VPN solutions in applications or extend their functionality.

Now this API can only be used by those intended for this, but there are a number of categories of applications to which the rule does not apply, and now the wording for which the VPNService class cannot be used has become strict and included in the rules.

It has also become mandatory:

  • mentioning the use of VPN on pages in Google Play,
  • encryption of data transmitted over the VPN tunnel
  • comply with a set of Developer Program Policies

See details here

💰 Cancel subscriptions from apps and games
Effective September 30, 2022

Developers are now required to provide the ability to cancel subscriptions from within the app. It should be understandable and easily accessible to the user. As an alternative, the developer can provide a link to the Google Play Subscription Center.

See details here

See details here

Prohibition on the publication of an application with false health information

Effective 31 August 2022

Added a ban on the publication of applications with health-related statements in the False Health Information section if they mislead users, may harm them, or contradict recognized medical facts.

Examples of such statements:

  • Misleading claims about vaccines (for example, claims that vaccines can change DNA).
  • Promoting dangerous or unapproved treatments.
  • Promoting dangerous medical procedures

See details here

It is forbidden to impersonate another person

Effective 31 August 2022

Added clarification to the Impersonation of another person section about the prohibition to impersonate representatives of other persons and organizations. Also introduced some examples with invalid app names and icons. This applies to logos inside the application and descriptions in Google Play.

See details here

Clarification about advertising

What is spam advertising and what is considered a violation

Clarification of advertising placement in accordance with age restrictions

There is now a ban on associating an ad ID with a permanent ID or personally identifiable information for any purpose, including statistics.

The article describes only the most important changes that affect most developers. I recommend that you go to the detailed description of all the changes to make sure that you do not have to change anything.

Michael Zippo
2022/07/28

https://linkedin.com/in/michael-zippo-9136441b1
[email protected]

Sources: Python.Engineering

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