How to fix Advertising ID policy violation in Google Play Store really quick?

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The problem

If you have some ad-supported apps in Google play store, you may have received an email from Google in the below-mentioned format.

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Action Required for package id: Google Play policy violation warning

Hello Google Play Developer,

Our records show that your app, App Name, with package name package id, is currently in violation of Google Play policy. You must resolve this issue within 7 days of the issuance of this notification, or your app will be removed from Google Play.

Reason for warning: Violation of Usage of Android Advertising ID policy and section 4.8 of the Developer Distribution Agreement

Google Play requires developers to provide a valid privacy policy when the app requests or handles sensitive user or device information. We’ve identified that your app collects and transmits the Android advertising ID, which is subject to a privacy policy requirement.

If your app collects the advertising ID, you must provide a valid privacy policy in both the designated field in the Play Console, and from within the app. Make sure your privacy policy is available on an active URL, applies to your app, and specifically covers user privacy.

Please note that the following examples do not qualify as a valid privacy policy URL:

  • URL does not load reliably or times out
  • URL opens a home page or license agreement instead of a Privacy Policy, and does not provide the required privacy disclosure
  • URL opens a page which does not clearly reference your app or company
  • URL requires a special handler to read the file (.pdf, docx) — Privacy disclosure must be in text form (unless clearly accommodating for user accessibility purposes)

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For some developers/apps, Google removed the apps even without any warning. The notification can be something like the below-mentioned format.

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Notification from Google Play about App Name

Hi developers at Company Name,

After review, App Name, package id, has been removed from Google Play due to a policy violation. This app won’t be available to users until you submit a compliant update.

Issue: Violation of Usage of Android Advertising ID policy and section 4.8 of the Developer Distribution Agreement

Google Play requires developers to provide a valid privacy policy when the app requests or handles sensitive user or device information. We’ve identified that your app collects and transmits the Android advertising identifier, which is subject to a privacy policy requirement. If your app collects the Android advertising ID, you must provide a valid privacy policy in both the designated field in the Play Console, and from within the app.

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Please note that if your app has some other sensitive permissions and you have a privacy policy already, you are completely safe. But if your apps having no other sensitive permissions and having ads (Admob, FB etc), probably you won’t have a privacy policy already. In that case, you may get a warning/suspension. In both cases, it is easy to fix by spending a few hours.

How to fix it and get your apps back?

First of all, we need to create a valid privacy policy document.

You can generate it easily here using this tool.

https://goo.gl/ASP2AZ

You may customize/add extra content/links to support other ad networks.

Once the document is ready, we need to host the privacy policy in a valid public URL.

If you already having a server/website/blog, you may host the content in a new page. But most of the small app developers won’t have a website/server. In that case, we can use any free website/landing page creator tools and host the privacy policy document there.

Here are some examples.

  1. https://goo.gl/Z6Si8f (General website builder)
  2. https://goo.gl/m1QG9j (App website builder)

I use the second one which is really simple and app specific. In fact, we get a free website for our app too. We can create a basic website in 10 seconds.

Here is a sample privacy policy link of our app created using the tool

https://goo.gl/Yr2k1j

Note: Kindly use first tool (Wix) in case your app is already suspended. The second one (Appreviewdesk) won’t work for suspended apps as a valid app URL is required for it.

So, our privacy policy URL is ready. What is next?

  1. We have to place a privacy policy link within the app. You can create the same as a text link anywhere in the app menu. It should be opened in the external browser on click.
  2. Then we have to place the same link in the Play Store. Go to Play Store console -> Store presence -> Store listing. Go to the last field named ‘Privacy Policy’ and update the link there.
  3. Submit app update and Store listing update together.
  4. Your app will be back online within 2 hours!

Hope it was helpful. Please discuss the issues, if any in comments so that I can try to help you further. Thanks for reading my post.

Note: Originally published by me here

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