In a minor change to its App Store, Apple has made age ratings for apps appear out more prominently while you are surfing through it. A tiny tile will now appear right below the name of the app and the developer, displaying the recommended age required for using that particular app.
Apple has always championed the “see no evil” cause and has strict measures in place to make sure apps remain as family friendly as possible. The move seems to have been made following rising concerns of parents over content within the apps.
The age rating will not show up while you’re browsing through the charts or even the featured section. Once you’ve decided to read more about the app’s description or try to install it, you will be shown the age requirements pretty clearly, besides the app icon.
17+ rated apps will still require you to confirm your age
In case you are trying to download an app that needs you to be 17 years and above, Apple will also ask you to confirm that you fit the age requirement when you hit the install button.
This move is being made by Apple in order to make its in-app purchases more transparent following concerns by parents. The company was involved in a minor controversy of sorts earlier this year with GIF app Vine.
Twitter’s newest project called Vine essentially allows users to shoot, upload and share short six-second videos that loop themselves like GIFs on Twitter. Users can also choose to play sounds with the videos. Mere days after the app was launched, a "porntroversy" broke out involving it.
The six-second looping video format made it a soft target or pornographers. Sexually explicit GIFs flooded the app. Vine was essentially released as an app only in association with Apple.
Apple came into the eye of the storm after Vine, featured as the editor’s pick in the App Store, was found to contain a pornographic video on its homepage. Earlier, Vine’s rating had been set by Twitter to 12 years and above. The low-maturity age rating was subsequently changed to 17+ in February.
Apple has in the past deleted apps like 500px for featuring nude images too. The company explained that the app had been pulled out "for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of the guidelines."
Apple has also been facing issues regarding transparency in in-app purchases. In February, the company had agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that said customers were charged when their children inadvertently downloaded certain applications from the company's online store.
Under the proposed settlement, Apple could potentially end up paying around $100 million as it has agreed to provide a $5 iTunes store credit to as many as 23 million affected customers, the court filing said. The final settlement figure could vary.
The lawsuit, filed by five parents in 2011, involved allegations surrounding purchases in certain downloaded apps, which plaintiffs claim were made by children without the knowledge or permission of the account holder.
The lawsuit also alleged that "Apple failed to adequately disclose that third-party Game Apps, largely available for free and rated as containing content suitable for children, contained the ability to make In-App Purchases."