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Apple’s App Store, Google Play Delisted Over 8 Lakh Apps Over Lack of Privacy Policy, Other Factors: Report

Apple and Google have delisted over 813,000 apps from their respective app stores in the first half of this year, as per the H1 2021 Delisted Mobile Apps Report by Pixalate. Pixalate, a California-based fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform analysed more than five million mobile apps across App Store and Google Play and found out that 15 percent of the total apps were delisted in the first half of the year. Various factors contributed to the apps’ delisting, including app store policy breach or the developer’s withdrawal. The delisted apps can remain installed on a device even after the app has been removed from the app stores and this has been a cause of concern for consumers. The analysis was aimed to help developers and advertisers to recognise potential threats of privacy and compliance breaches.

Prior to delisting, the apps were downloaded over nine billion times on the Google Play store and the apps on Apple’s App Store had over 21 million user ratings. As per the report, 86 percent of the apps delisted from Google Play and 89 percent of the apps delisted from App Store were targeted at children up to 12 years old. It was also noted that 25 percent of the Play Store apps and 59 percent of the App Store apps had no privacy policy detected. The report also said that 26 percent of the apps were delisted from the Russian Google Play store and 60 percent of the apps listed on China’s App Store had no detectable privacy policy.

There were several reasons why the apps got delisted. About 66 percent of the delisted Google apps had at least one “dangerous permission.” According to Android for Developers, dangerous permissions — also known as runtime permissions — gives an app additional access to restricted data, and allows the app to perform restricted actions that more substantially affect the system and other apps. About 27 percent of the delisted apps had access to GPS coordinates and 19 percent of the apps could access the camera. Some apps were also delisted because of an app store policy breach or due to the developer’s withdrawal.

A point of concern to both advertisers and consumers alike is that the delisted apps can remain installed on a device even after the app has been removed from the app store. If an app was removed following an app store policy violation, this poses an increased risk to consumer safety and privacy, and brand safety for the advertisers.

The goal of the report was to help developers and advertisers recognise potential threats of privacy and compliance breaches.


This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discuss iPhone 13, new iPad and iPad mini, and Apple Watch Series 7 — and what they mean to the Indian market. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Jasmin Jose is a sub-editor at Gadgets 360. She has directed investigative documentaries, PSAs, and video features covering arts, culture, science, and general news in the past.  She believes in the power of the Internet and is constantly looking out for the next new technology that is going to transform life on earth. When not doing things news, she can be found reading fiction, physics or philosophy, plucking berries, or talking cinema. Write to her at jasminj@ndtv.com or get in
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