Let's build the world's most trusted source for apps and games
Your innovation is what drives our shared success, but with it comes responsibility. These Developer Program Policies, along with the Developer Distribution Agreement, ensure that together we continue to deliver the world's most innovative and trusted apps to over a billion people through Google Play. We invite you to explore our policies through the interactive tiles below or in a print view.
People from all over the world use Google Play to access apps and games every day. Before submitting an app, ask yourself if your app is appropriate for Google Play and compliant with local laws.
Apps that include content that sexualizes minors are subject to immediate removal from the Store. Apps that appeal to children but contain adult themes are not allowed.
If we become aware of content with child sexual abuse imagery, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google Accounts of those involved with the distribution.
To ensure that Google Play remains a safe and respectful platform, we've created standards defining and prohibiting content that is harmful or inappropriate for our users.
We don't allow apps that contain or promote sexual content, such as pornography, or any content or services intended to be sexually gratifying. Content that contains nudity may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific or artististic, and is not gratuitous.
- Depictions of nudity in which the subject is nude or minimally clothed, and where the clothing would not be acceptable in an appropriate public context.
- Depictions, animations or illustrations of sex acts or sexually suggestive poses.
- Content that depicts sexual aids and fetishes.
- Content that is lewd or profane.
- Content that depicts, describes, or encourages bestiality.
- Apps that promote sex-related entertainment, escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
We don't allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.
- Compilations of assertions intended to prove that a protected group is inhuman, inferior or worthy of being hated.
- Apps that contain theories about a protected group possessing negative characteristics (e.g. malicious, corrupt, evil, etc.), or explicitly or implicitly claims the group is a threat.
- Content or speech trying to encourage others to believe that people should be hated or discriminated against because they are a member of a protected group.
We don't allow apps that depict or facilitate gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities.
- Graphic depictions or descriptions of realistic violence or violent threats to any person or animal.
- Apps that promote self harm, suicide, eating disorders, choking games or other acts where serious injury or death may result.
We do not permit terrorist organizations to publish apps on Google Play for any purpose, including recruitment.
We don't allow apps with content related to terrorism, such as content that promotes terrorist acts, incites violence, or celebrates terrorist attacks. If posting content related to terrorism for an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purpose, be mindful to provide enough information so users understand the context.
We don't allow apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.
- Lacking sensitivity regarding the death of a real person or group of people due to suicide, overdose, natural causes, etc.
- Denying a major tragic event.
- Appearing to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to the victims.
Bullying and Harassment
We don't allow apps that contain or facilitate threats, harassment, or bullying.
- Bullying victims of international or religious conflicts.
- Content that seeks to exploit others, including extortion, blackmail, etc.
- Posting content in order to humiliate someone publicly.
- Harassing victims, or their friends and families, of a tragic event.
We don't allow apps that facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories.
- Restricted accessories include those that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g. bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds.
We don't allow apps that provide instructions for the manufacture of explosives, firearms, ammunition, restricted firearm accessories, or other weapons. This includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic, or simulated automatic, firing capabilities.
We don't allow apps that facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality.
- Allowing users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart feature.
- Assisting users in arranging delivery or pick up of marijuana.
- Facilitating the sale of products containing THC.
Tobacco and Alcohol
We don't allow apps that facilitate the sale of tobacco (including e-cigarettes) or encourage the irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco.
- Depicting or encouraging the use or sale of alcohol or tobacco to minors.
- Implying that consuming tobacco can improve social, sexual, professional, intellectual, or athletic standing.
- Portraying excessive drinking favorably, including the favorable portrayal of excessive, binge or competition drinking.
We don't allow apps that expose users to deceptive or harmful financial instruments.
We do not allow apps that provide users with the ability to trade binary options.
We don't allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.
We allow content, services, and ads that facilitate online gambling, as long as they meet certain requirements. We also allow daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.
Gambling Ads within Play-distributed Apps
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Apps
We don’t allow apps that facilitate or promote illegal activities.
- Facilitating the sale or purchase of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription.
- Depicting or encouraging the use or sale of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco by minors.
- Instructions for growing or manufacturing illegal drugs.
User-generated content (UGC) is content that users contribute to an app, and which is visible to or accessible by at least a subset of the app's users. Objectionable content is content that violates our policies.
Apps that contain or feature UGC must:
- implement robust, effective and ongoing UGC moderation, as is reasonable and consistent with the type(s) of UGC hosted by the app;
- provide a user-friendly, in-app system for reporting and removal of objectionable UGC;
- In the case of live-streaming apps, problematic UGC must be removed in as close to real-time as reasonably possible; and
- provide safeguards to prevent in-app monetization from encouraging objectionable user behavior.
Apps whose primary purpose is featuring objectionable UGC will be removed from Google Play. Similarly, apps that end up being used primarily for hosting objectionable UGC, or that develop a reputation among users of being a place where such content thrives, will also be removed from Google Play.
- Promoting sexually explicit user-generated content, including implementing paid features that principally encourage the sharing of objectionable content.
- Apps with user generated content (UGC) that lack sufficient safeguards against threats, harassment, or bullying, particularly toward minors.
- Posts, comments, or photos within an app that are primarily intended to harass or single out another person for abuse, malicious attack, or ridicule.
- Apps that continually fail to address user complaints about objectionable content.
Google Play doesn't allow apps that promote or sell unapproved substances, irrespective of any claims of legality. Examples:
- All items on this non-exhaustive list of prohibited pharmaceuticals and supplements
- Products that contain ephedra
- Products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in relation to weight loss or weight control, or when promoted in conjunction with anabolic steroids
- Herbal and dietary supplements with active pharmaceutical or dangerous ingredients
- False or misleading health claims, including claims implying that a product is as effective as prescription drugs or controlled substances
- Non-government approved products that are marketed in a way that implies that they're safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment
- Products that have been subject to any government or regulatory action or warning
- Products with names that are confusingly similar to an unapproved pharmaceutical or supplement or controlled substance
For additional information on the unapproved or misleading pharmaceuticals and supplements that we monitor, please visit www.legitscript.com.
Impersonation and Intellectual Property
When developers copy someone else’s work or deceive users, it hurts users and the developer community. Don't rely on misleading or unfair use of other people’s work.
We don’t allow apps that use another app or entity’s brand, title, logo, or name in a manner that may result in misleading users. Don’t try to imply an endorsement or relationship with another entity where none exists. Impersonation can occur even if there isn’t an intent to deceive, so please be careful when referencing any brands that do not belong to you. This applies even if that brand doesn’t yet have a presence on Google Play.
Here are some examples of common violations:
Developers that falsely suggest an affiliation with another entity:
① The developer name listed for this app suggests an official relationship with Google, even though such a relationship doesn’t exist.
App titles and icons that are so similar to those of existing products or services that users may be misled:
Apps that falsely claim to be the official app of an established entity. Titles like “Justin Bieber Official” are not allowed without the necessary permissions or rights.
- Apps that violate the Android Brand Guidelines.
We don’t allow apps or developer accounts that infringe on the intellectual property rights of others (including trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and other proprietary rights). We also don’t allow apps that encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights.
We will respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. For more information or to file a DMCA request, please visit our copyright procedures.
To submit a complaint regarding the sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit goods within an app, please submit a counterfeit notice.
If you are a trademark owner and you believe there is an app on Google Play that infringes on your trademark rights, we encourage you to reach out to the developer directly to resolve your concern. If you are unable to reach a resolution with the developer, please submit a trademark complaint through this form.
If you have written documentation proving that you have permission to use a third party's intellectual property in your app or store listing (such as brand names, logos and graphic assets), contact the Google Play team in advance of your submission to ensure that your app is not rejected for an intellectual property violation.
Encouraging Infringement of Copyright
We don’t allow apps that induce or encourage copyright infringement. Before you publish your app, look for ways your app may be encouraging copyright infringement and get legal advice if necessary.
Here are some examples of common violations:
Streaming apps that allow users to download a local copy of copyrighted content without authorization.
Apps that encourage users to stream and download copyrighted works, including music and video, in violation of applicable copyright law:
① The description in this app listing encourages users to download copyrighted content without authorization.
② The screenshot in the app listing encourages users to download copyrighted content without authorization.
We don’t allow apps that infringe on others’ trademarks. A trademark is a word, symbol, or combination that identifies the source of a good or service. Once acquired, a trademark gives the owner exclusive rights to the trademark usage with respect to certain goods or services.
Trademark infringement is improper or unauthorized use of an identical or similar trademark in a way that is likely to cause confusion as to the source of that product. If your app uses another party’s trademarks in a way that is likely to cause confusion, your app may be suspended.
We don't allow apps that sell or promote for sale counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.
Privacy, Security, and Deception
We’re committed to protecting user privacy and providing a safe and secure environment for our users. Apps that are deceptive, malicious, or intended to abuse or misuse any network, device, or personal data are strictly prohibited.
You must be transparent in how you handle user data (e.g., information collected from or about a user, including device information). That means disclosing the collection, use, and sharing of the data, and limiting the use of the data to the purposes disclosed, and the consent provided by the user. In addition, if your app handles personal or sensitive user data, please also refer to the additional requirements in the "Personal and Sensitive Information" section below. These Google Play requirements are in addition to any requirements prescribed by applicable privacy or data protection laws.
Personal and Sensitive Information
Personal and sensitive user data includes, but isn't limited to, personally identifiable information, financial and payment information, authentication information, phonebook, contacts SMS and call related data, microphone and camera sensor data, and sensitive device or usage data. If your app handles sensitive user data, then you must:
- Limit your collection and use of this data to purposes directly related to providing and improving the features of the app (e.g. user anticipated functionality that is documented and promoted in the app's description).
- Handle all personal or sensitive user data securely, including transmitting it using modern cryptography (for example, over HTTPS).
Prominent Disclosure Requirement
In cases where users may not expect that their personal or sensitive user data will be required to provide or improve the features of your app, you must meet the following requirements:
Your app must provide an in-app disclosure of your data collection and use. The in-app disclosure:
- Must be within the app itself, not only in the Play listing or a website;
- Must be displayed in the normal usage of the app and not require the user to navigate into a menu or settings;
- Must describe the data being collected;
- Must explain how the data will be used;
- Cannot be included with other disclosures unrelated to personal or sensitive data collection.
Your app's in-app disclosure must include a request for user consent. The app's request for consent:
- Must present the consent dialog in a clear and unambiguous way;
- Must require affirmative user action (e.g. tap to accept, tick a check-box, a verbal command, etc.) in order to accept;
- Must not begin personal or sensitive data collection prior to obtaining affirmative consent;
- Must not consider navigation away from the disclosure (including tapping away or pressing the back or home button) as consent; and
- Must not utilize auto-dismissing or expiring messages.
Specific Restrictions for Sensitive Data Access
In addition to the requirements above, the table below describes requirements for specific activities.
|Your app handles financial or payment information or government identification numbers||Your app must never publicly disclose any personal or sensitive user data related to financial or payment activities or any government identification numbers.|
|Your app handles non-public phonebook or contact information||We don't allow unauthorized publishing or disclosure of people's non-public contacts.|
EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
Permission requests should make sense to users. You may only request permissions that are necessary to implement critical current features or services in your application. You may not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes.
Request permissions access to data in context (via incremental auth), so that users understand why you need the permission or data. Use the data only for purposes that the user has consented to. If you later wish to use the data for other purposes, you must ask users and make sure they affirmatively agree to the additional uses.
Additional requirements for the use of specific permissions:
|Your app manifest requests the Call Log permission group (e.g. READ_CALL_LOG, WRITE_CALL_LOG, PROCESS_OUTGOING_CALLS)||It must be actively registered as the default Phone or Assistant handler on the device.|
|Your app manifest requests the SMS permission group (e.g. READ_SMS, SEND_SMS, WRITE_SMS, RECEIVE_SMS, RECEIVE_WAP_PUSH, RECEIVE_MMS)||It must be actively registered as the default SMS or Assistant handler on the device.|
The following restrictions also apply to the above permissions:
Apps lacking default SMS, Phone, or Assistant handler capability may not declare use of the above permissions in the manifest. This includes placeholder text in the manifest.
Apps must be actively registered as the default SMS, Phone, or Assistant handler before prompting users to accept any of the above permissions and must immediately stop the use of the permission when it's no longer the default handler.
Apps may only use the permission (and any data derived from the permission) to provide approved critical core app functionality (e.g. critical current features of the app that are documented and promoted in the app's description). You may never sell this data. The transfer, sharing, or licensed use of this data must only be for providing critical core features or services within the app, and its use may not be extended for any other purpose (e.g. improving other apps or services, advertising, or marketing purposes). You may not use alternative methods (including other permissions, APIs, or third-party sources) to derive data attributed to the above permissions.
Exceptions to Call Log and SMS Default Handler restrictions
The objective of the above restrictions is to protect user privacy. We may grant limited exceptions to the default handler requirement in cases when an app is not the default handler, but abides by all of the above requirements and clearly and transparently provides a highly compelling or critical feature where there is currently no alternative method to provide the feature. Such features will be evaluated against any potential privacy or security impact on users. These exceptions are rare and will not be extended to all developers. Please see this Help Center page for more information.
We don’t allow apps that interfere with, disrupt, damage, or access in an unauthorized manner the user’s device, other devices or computers, servers, networks, application programming interfaces (APIs), or services, including but not limited to other apps on the device, any Google service, or an authorized carrier’s network.
Apps on Google Play must comply with the default Android system optimization requirements documented in the Core App Quality guidelines for Google Play.
Here are some examples of common violations:
- Apps that block or interfere with another app displaying ads.
- Game cheating apps that affect the gameplay of other apps.
- Apps that facilitate or provide instructions on how to hack services, software or hardware, or circumvent security protections.
- Apps that access or use a service or API in a manner that violates its terms of service.
- Apps that attempt to bypass system power management that are not eligible for whitelisting.
We don't allow apps that steal data, secretly monitor or harm users, or are otherwise malicious.
Surveillance and Commercial Spyware apps are explicitly prohibited on Google Play. Only policy compliant apps exclusively designed and marketed for parental (including family) monitoring or enterprise management may distribute on the Store with tracking and reporting features, provided they fully comply with the requirements described below.
The following are explicitly prohibited:
- Viruses, trojan horses, malware, spyware or any other malicious software.
- Apps that link to or facilitate the distribution or installation of malicious software.
- Apps or SDKs that download executable code, such as dex files or native code, from a source other than Google Play.
- Apps that introduce or exploit security vulnerabilities.
- Apps that steal a user's authentication information (such as usernames or passwords) or that mimic other apps or websites to trick users into disclosing personal or authentication information.
- Apps may not depict unverified or real world phone numbers, contacts, addresses, or personally identifiable information of non-consenting individuals or entities.
- Apps that install other apps on a device without the user's prior consent.
- Apps designed to secretly collect device usage, such as commercial spyware apps.
Apps that monitor or track a user's behavior on a device must comply with these requirements:
- Apps must not present themselves as a spying or secret surveillance solution.
- Apps must not hide or cloak tracking behavior or attempt to mislead users about such functionality.
- Present users with a persistent notification and unique icon that clearly identifies the app.
- Apps and app listings on Google Play must not provide any means to activate or access functionality that violate these terms, such as linking to a non-compliant APK hosted outside Google Play.
- You are solely responsible for determining the legality of your app in its targeted locale. Apps determined to be unlawful in locations where they are published will be removed.
Check out our App Security Improvement Program to find out about the most recent security issues flagged to developers on Google Play. Vulnerability and remediation details are available in each campaign's support page link.
We don't allow apps that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behavior. Apps must provide accurate disclosure of their functionality and should perform as reasonably expected by the user. Apps must not attempt to mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other apps. Any changes to device settings must be made with the user's knowledge and consent and be easily reversible by the user.
We don’t allow apps that contain false or misleading information or claims, including in the description, title, icon, and screenshots.
Here are some examples of common violations:
- Apps that misrepresent or do not accurately and clearly describe their functionality:
- An app that claims to be a racing game in its description and screenshots, but is actually a puzzle block game using a picture of a car.
- An app that claims to be an antivirus app, but only contains a text guide explaining how to remove viruses.
- Developer or app names that misrepresent their current status or performance on Play. (E.g. “Editor’s Choice,” “Number 1 App,” “Top Paid”).
- Apps that feature medical or health-related functionalities that are misleading or potentially harmful.
- Apps that claim functionalities that are not possible to implement.
- Apps that are improperly categorized.
Deceptive Device Settings Changes
We don’t allow apps that make changes to the user’s device settings or features outside of the app without the user’s knowledge and consent. Device settings and features include system and browser settings, bookmarks, shortcuts, icons, widgets, and the presentation of apps on the homescreen.
Additionally, we do not allow:
- Apps that modify device settings or features with the user’s consent but do so in a way that is not easily reversible.
- Apps or ads that modify device settings or features as a service to third parties or for advertising purposes.
- Apps that mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features.
- Apps that encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service.
Enabling Dishonest Behavior
We don't allow apps that help users to mislead others, including, but not limited to, apps that generate or facilitate the generation of ID cards, social security numbers, passports, diplomas, credit cards and driver's licenses.
Any claim that an app is a "prank", "for entertainment purposes" (or other synonym) does not exempt an app from application of our policies.
We do not allow apps or developer accounts that impersonate any person or organization, or that misrepresent or conceal their ownership or primary purpose. We do not allow apps or developer accounts that engage in coordinated activity to mislead users. This includes, but isn’t limited to, apps or developer accounts that misrepresent or conceal their country of origin and that direct content at users in another country.
Monetization and Ads
Google Play supports a variety of monetization strategies to benefit developers and users, including paid distribution, in-app products, subscriptions, and ad-based models. To ensure the best user experience, we require you to comply with these policies.
Apps that employ in-store or in-app purchases must comply with the following guidelines:
In-store purchases: Developers charging for apps and downloads from Google Play must use Google Play’s payment system.
- Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
- Developers offering products within another category of app downloaded on Google Play must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment, except for the following cases:
- Payment is solely for physical products
- Payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players).
- In-app virtual currencies must only be used within the app where they were first purchased.
- Developers must not mislead users about the apps they are selling nor about any in-app services, goods, content, or functionality offered for purchase. If your product description on Google Play refers to in-app features that may require a specific or additional charge, your description must clearly notify users that payment is required to access those features.
- Apps offering mechanisms to receive randomized virtual items from a purchase (i.e. "loot boxes") must clearly disclose the odds of receiving those items in advance of purchase.
Here are some examples of products supported by Google Play In-app Billing:
- Virtual game products, including coins, gems, extra lives or turns, special items or equipment, characters or avatars, additional levels or playtime.
- App functionality or content, such as an ad-free version of an app or new features not available in the free version.
- Subscription services, such as streaming music, video, book, or other media services; digital publications, including when bundled with a physical edition; and social networking services.
- Cloud software products, including data storage services, business productivity software, and financial management software.
Here are some examples of products not currently supported by Google Play In-app Billing:
- Retail merchandise, such as groceries, clothing, housewares, and electronics.
- Service fees, including taxi and transportation services, cleaning services, food delivery, airfare, and event tickets.
- One-time membership fees or recurring dues, including gym memberships, loyalty programs, or clubs offering accessories, clothing, or other physical products.
- One time-payments, including peer-to-peer payments, online auctions, and donations.
- Electronic bill payment, including credit card bills, utilities, and cable or telecommunications services.
Note that we offer the Google Pay API for apps selling physical products and services. For more information, please visit our Google Pay developer page.
If a user cancels a subscription purchased from an app on Google Play, our policy is that the user will not receive a refund for the current billing period, but will continue to receive their subscription content for the remainder of the current billing period, regardless of the cancellation date. The user's cancellation goes into effect after the current billing period has passed.
You (as the content or access provider) may implement a more flexible refund policy with your users directly. It is your responsibility to notify your users of any changes to your refund policies and ensure that the policies comply with applicable law.
We don’t allow apps that contain deceptive or disruptive ads. Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them. We consider ads served in your app as part of your app. The ads shown in your app must be compliant with all our policies. For policies on gambling ads, please click here.
Ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app, notification, or warning elements of an operating system. It must be clear to the user which app is serving each ad.
Here are some examples of common violations:
Ads that mimic an app's UI:
① The question mark icon in this app is an ad that takes the user to an external landing page.
Ads that mimic a system notification:
① ② The examples above illustrate ads mimicking various system notifications.
Unless the exclusive purpose of the app is that of a lockscreen, apps may not introduce ads or features that monetize the locked display of a device.
Ads should not be shown in a way that results in inadvertent clicks. Forcing a user to click an ad or submit personal information for advertising purposes before they can fully use an app is prohibited.
Interstitial ads may only be displayed inside of the app serving them. If your app displays interstitial ads or other ads that interfere with normal use, they must be easily dismissable without penalty.
Here is an example of a common violation:
Ads that take up the entire screen or interfere with normal use and do not provide a clear means to dismiss the ad:
① This ad does not have a dismiss button.
Interfering with Apps, Third-party Ads, or Device Functionality
Ads associated with your app must not interfere with other apps, ads, or the operation of the device, including system or device buttons and ports. This includes overlays, companion functionality, and widgetized ad units. Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them.
Here are some examples of common violations:
Ads that display outside of the app serving them:
Description: The user navigates to the home screen from this app, and suddenly an ad appears on the homescreen.
Ads that are triggered by the home button or other features explicitly designed for exiting the app:
Description: The user attempts to exit the app and navigate to the home screen, but instead, the expected flow is interrupted by an ad.
The ads shown within your app must be appropriate for the intended audience of your app, even if the content by itself is otherwise compliant with our policies.
Here is an example of a common violation:
- ① This ad is inappropriate for the intended audience of this app.
Usage of Android Advertising ID
Google Play Services version 4.0 introduced new APIs and an ID for use by advertising and analytics providers. Terms for the use of this ID are below.
- Usage. The Android advertising identifier must only be used for advertising and user analytics. The status of the “Opt out of Interest-based Advertising” or “Opt out of Ads Personalization” setting must be verified on each access of the ID.
- Association with personally-identifiable information or other identifiers. The advertising identifier must not be connected to personally-identifiable information or associated with any persistent device identifier (for example: SSAID, MAC address, IMEI, etc.) without explicit consent of the user.
- Respecting users' selections. If reset, a new advertising identifier must not be connected to a previous advertising identifier or data derived from a previous advertising identifier without the explicit consent of the user. Also, you must abide by a user’s “Opt out of Interest-based Advertising” or “Opt out of Ads Personalization” setting. If a user has enabled this setting, you may not use the advertising identifier for creating user profiles for advertising purposes or for targeting users with personalized advertising. Allowed activities include contextual advertising, frequency capping, conversion tracking, reporting and security and fraud detection.
- Transparency to users. The collection and use of the advertising identifier and commitment to these terms must be disclosed to users in a legally adequate privacy notification. To learn more about our privacy standards, please review our User Data policy.
If you serve ads in your app, and your app targets only children, then you must use one of Google Play's certified ad networks. If your app targets both children and older users, you must implement age screening measures and make sure that ads shown to children come exclusively from one of Google Play's certified ad networks.
Ad Network Certification Requirements
- Define what are objectionable ad content and behaviors and prohibit them in the ad network's terms or policies. The definitions should not result in non-compliance with Play's Developer Program Policies.
- Create a method to rate your ad creatives according to age appropriate groups, including at least groups for Everyone and Mature. The rating methodology must align with the methodology that Google supplies to certified networks.
- Allow publishers, on a per-request or per-app basis, to request child-directed treatment for ad serving. Such treatment must be in compliance with at least the US Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including but not limited to:
- restricting the collection and/or use of personal data;
- disabling personalized ads.
- Provide Google with sufficient information to verify the ad network's compliance with all certification requirements, and respond in a timely manner to any subsequent requests for information.
Note: Ad networks must support ad serving that complies with all relevant statutes and regulations concerning children that may apply to their publishers.
Mediation requirements for serving platforms when serving ads to children:
- only use Play certified ad networks or implement safeguards necessary to ensure that all ads served from mediation networks comply with these requirements; and
- pass signals necessary to indicate the ad content rating and any applicable child-directed treatment.
Developers can find a list of certified ad networks here.
Also, developers can share this interest form with ad networks who wish to become certified.
Store Listing and Promotion
The promotion and visibility of your app dramatically affects store quality. Avoid spammy store listings, low quality promotion, and efforts to artificially boost app visibility on Google Play.
We don’t allow apps that directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from promotion practices that are deceptive or harmful to users or the developer ecosystem. This includes apps that engage in the following behavior:
- Using deceptive ads on websites, apps, or other properties, including notifications that are similar to system notifications and alerts.
- Promotion or installation tactics that redirect users to Google Play or download apps without informed user action.
- Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.
It is your responsibility to ensure that any ad networks or affiliates associated with your app comply with these policies and do not employ any prohibited promotion practices.
We don't allow apps with misleading, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata, including but not limited to the app's description, developer name, title, icon, screenshots, and promotional images. We also don't allow user testimonials in the app's description.
Here are some examples of common violations:
① User testimonials
② Excessive details
③ ④ Misleading references to other apps or products
⑤ Repetitive, excessive, or irrelevant keywords
Here are some examples of inappropriate text, images, or videos within your listing:
- Imagery or videos with sexually suggestive content. Avoid suggestive imagery containing breasts, buttocks, genitalia, or other fetishized anatomy or content, whether illustrated or real.
- Language inappropriate for a general audience. Avoid profane and vulgar language in your app listing. If it is a critical element of your app, you must censor its presentation within the store listing.
- Graphic violence prominently depicted in app icons, promotional images, or videos.
- Depictions of the illicit usage of drugs. Even EDSA (Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic) content must be suitable for all audiences within the store listing.
Here are a few best practices:
- Highlight what's great about your app. Share interesting and exciting facts about your app to help users understand what makes your app special.
- Make sure that your app’s title and description accurately describe your app’s functionality.
- Avoid using repetitive or unrelated keywords or references.
- Keep your app’s description succinct and straightforward. Shorter descriptions tend to result in a better user experience, especially on devices with smaller displays. Excessive length, detail, or repetition can result in a violation of this policy.
- Remember that your listing should be suitable for a general audience. Avoid using inappropriate text, images or videos in your listing.
Developers must not attempt to manipulate the placement of any apps in Google Play. This includes, but is not limited to, inflating product ratings, reviews, or install counts by illegitimate means, such as fraudulent or incentivized installs, reviews and ratings.
Here are some examples of common violations:
Asking users to rate your app while offering an incentive:
- ① This notification offers users a discount in exchange for a high rating.
- Repeatedly submitting ratings to influence the app’s placement on Google Play.
Submitting or encouraging users to submit reviews containing inappropriate content, including affiliates, coupons, game codes, email addresses, or links to websites or other apps:
② This review encourages users to promote the RescueRover app by making a coupon offer.
Ratings and reviews are benchmarks of app quality. Users depend on them to be authentic and relevant. Here are some best practices when responding to user reviews:
- Keep your reply focused on the issues raised in the user's comments and don’t ask for a higher rating.
- Include references to helpful resources such as a support address or FAQ page.
Our content rating system includes official ratings from the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) and is designed to help developers communicate locally relevant content ratings to users.
How content ratings are used
How content ratings are assigned
Spam and Minimum Functionality
At a minimum, apps should provide users with a basic degree of functionality and a respectful user experience. Apps that crash, exhibit other behavior that is not consistent with a functional user experience, or that serve only to spam users or Google Play are not apps that expand the catalog in a meaningful way.
We don't allow apps that spam users or Google Play, such as apps that send users unsolicited messages or apps that are repetitive or low-quality.
We don’t allow apps that send SMS, email, or other messages on behalf of the user without giving the user the ability to confirm the content and intended recipients.
Webviews and Affiliate Spam
We don’t allow apps whose primary purpose is to drive affiliate traffic to a website or provide a webview of a website without permission from the website owner or administrator.
Here are some examples of common violations:
- An app whose primary purpose is to drive referral traffic to a website to receive credit for user sign-ups or purchases on that website.
Apps whose primary purpose is to provide a webview of a website without permission:
① This app is called “Bob’s Movie Search App” and it simply provides a webview of IMDb.
We don't allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play. Apps should provide value to users through creation of unique content or services.
- Copying content from other apps without adding any original content or value.
- Creating multiple apps with highly similar content and user experience. If these apps are each small in content volume, developers should consider creating a single app that aggregates all the content.
Apps that are created by an automated tool, wizard service, or based on templates and submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons are not allowed. Such apps are only permissible if they are published by an individually registered developer account belonging to the user of the automated tool, not the operator of the service.
Made for Ads
We do not allow apps whose primary purpose is to serve ads.
- Apps where interstitial ads are placed after every user action, including but not limited to clicks, swipes, etc.
Ensure your app provides a stable, engaging, responsive user experience.
Here are some examples of common violations:
- Status symbol apps that are designed to do nothing or have no function
We don’t allow apps that crash, force close, freeze, or otherwise function abnormally.
- Apps that don’t install
- Apps that install, but don’t load
- Apps that load, but are not responsive
In addition to compliance with the content policies set out elsewhere in this Policy Center, apps that are designed for other Android experiences and distributed via Google Play may also be subject to program-specific policy requirements. Be sure to review the list below to determine if any of these policies apply to your app.
Our goal with Android Instant Apps is to create delightful, frictionless user experiences while also adhering to the highest standards of privacy and security. Our policies are designed to support that goal.
Developers choosing to distribute Android Instant Apps through Google Play must adhere to the following policies, in addition to all other Google Play Developer Program Policies.
Offering App Installation
Changing Device State
Instant apps must not make changes to the user’s device that persist longer than the instant app session. For example, instant apps may not change the user’s wallpaper or create a homescreen widget.
Developers must ensure that instant apps are visible to the user, such that the user is aware at all times that the instant app is running on their device.
Instant apps are prohibited from accessing device identifiers that both (1) persist after the instant app stops running and (2) are not resettable by the user. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Build Serial
- Mac Addresses of any networking chips
- IMEI, IMSI
Instant apps may access phone number if obtained using the runtime permission. The developer must not attempt to fingerprint the user using these identifiers or any other means.
Network traffic from inside the instant app must be encrypted using a TLS protocol like HTTPS.
Google Play offers a rich platform for developers to showcase their high-quality, age appropriate content for the whole family. Before submitting an app to the Designed for Families program or submitting an app that targets children to the Google Play Store, you are responsible for ensuring your app is appropriate for children and compliant with all relevant laws.
The use of technology as a tool for enriching families' lives continues to grow, and parents are looking for safe, high-quality content to share with their children. You may be designing your apps specifically for children or your app may just attract their attention. Google Play wants to help you make sure your app is safe for all users, including families.
The word "children" can mean different things in different locales and in different contexts. It is important that you consult with your legal counsel to help determine what obligations and/or age-based restrictions may apply to your app. You know best how your app works so we are relying on you to help us make sure apps on Google Play are safe for families.
Apps designed specifically for children must participate in the Designed for Families program. However, if your app targets children as only one of its audiences, participating in the Designed for Families program is still a great way to surface your app to the right users. If you decide not to participate in the Designed for Families program, you still must comply with the Google Play Families Policy requirements below, as well as all other Google Play Developer Program Policies and the Developer Distribution Agreement.
Play Console Requirements
Target Audience and Content
In the Target Audience and Content section of the Google Play Console you must indicate the target audience for your app, prior to publishing, by selecting from the list of age groups provided. Regardless of what you identify in the Google Play Console, if you choose to include imagery and terminology in your app that could be considered targeting children, this may impact Google Play's assessment of your declared target audience. Google Play reserves the right to conduct its own review of the app information that you provide to determine whether the target audience that you disclose is accurate.
If you select a target audience that only includes adults, but Google determines that this is inaccurate because your app is targeting both children and adults, you will have the option to make clear to users that your app is not targeting children by agreeing to carry a warning label.
You should only select more than one age group for your app's target audience if you have designed your app for and ensured that your app is appropriate for users within the selected age group(s). For example, apps designed for babies, toddlers, and preschool children should only have the age group "Ages 5 & Under" selected as the age group target for those apps. If your app is designed for a specific level of school, choose the age group that best represents that school level. You should only select age groups that include both adults and children if you truly have designed your app for all ages.
Updates to Target Audience and Content Section
You can always update your app's information in the Target Audience and Content section in the Google Play Console. An app update is required before this information will be reflected on the Google Play store. However, any changes you make in this section of the Google Play Console may be reviewed for policy compliance even before an app update is submitted.
We strongly recommend that you let your existing users know if you change the target age group for your app or start using ads or in-app purchases, either by using the "What's New" section of your app's store listing page or through in-app notifications.
Misrepresentation in Play Console
Misrepresentation of any information about your app in the Play Console, including in the Target Audience and Content section, may result in removal or suspension of your app, so it is important to provide accurate information.
Families Policy Requirements
If one of the target audiences for your app is children, you must comply with the following requirements. Failure to satisfy these requirements may result in app removal or suspension.
- App content: Your app's content that is accessible to children must be appropriate for children.
- Google Play Console Answers: You must accurately answer the questions in the Google Play Console regarding your app and update those answers to accurately reflect any changes to your app.
- Ads: If your app displays ads to children or to users of unknown age, you must:
- only use Google Play certified ad networks to display ads to those users;
- ensure ads displayed to those users do not involve interest-based advertising or remarketing;
- ensure ads displayed to those users present content that is appropriate for children;
- ensure ads displayed to those users follow the Families ad format requirements; and
- ensure compliance with all applicable legal regulations and industry standards relating to advertising to children.
- Apps that solely target children must not contain any APIs or SDKs that are not approved for use in child-directed services. This includes, Google Sign-In (or any other Google API Service that accesses data associated with a Google Account), Google Play Games Services, and any other API Service using OAuth technology for authentication and authorization.
- Apps that target both children and older audiences should not implement APIs or SDKs that are not approved for use in child-directed services unless they are used behind a neutral age screen or implemented in a way that does not result in the collection of data from children (e.g., providing Google Sign-in as an optional feature). Note that all users must be able to access your app and a reasonable amount of its functionality.
- If your app uses Augmented Reality, you must include a safety warning immediately upon launch of the AR section. The warning should contain the following:
- An appropriate message about the importance of parental supervision.
- A reminder to be aware of physical hazards in the real world (e.g., be aware of your surroundings).
- Your app must not require the usage of a device that is advised not to be used by children. (e.g. Daydream, Oculus)
- Apps that promote play for children in their store-listing but the app content is only appropriate for adults.
- Apps that implement APIs that have terms of service that prohibit their use in child-directed apps.
- Apps that glamorize the use of alcohol, tobacco or controlled substances.
- Apps that include real or simulated gambling.
- Apps that include violence, gore, or shocking content not appropriate for children.
- Apps that provide dating services or offer sexual or marital advice.
- Apps that show mature ads to children.
Designed for Families Program
Apps designed specifically for children must participate in the Designed for Families program. If your app is designed for everyone, including children and families, you too can apply to participate in the program.
Before being accepted into the program your app must meet all of the Families Policy requirements and Designed for Families eligibility requirements, in addition to those outlined in the Google Play Developer Program Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement.
For more information on the process for submitting your app for inclusion in the program, click here.
All apps participating in the Designed for Families program must have both app and ad content that are relevant and appropriate for children and must satisfy all of the requirements below. Apps accepted into the Designed for Families program must remain compliant with all program requirements. Google Play reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or remove any app determined to be inappropriate for the Designed for Families program.
Designed for Families Requirements
- Apps must be rated ESRB Everyone or Everyone 10+, or equivalent.
- You must accurately disclose the app's interactive elements on the Content
Rating Questionnaire in the Google Play Console, including whether:
- users can interact or exchange information;
- your app shares user-provided personal information with third parties; and
- your app shares the user's physical location with other users.
- If your app uses the Android Speech API, your app's RecognizerIntent.EXTRA_CALLING_PACKAGE must be set to its PackageName.
- Apps must only use Google Play's certified ad networks.
- Apps designed specifically for children cannot request location permissions.
- Apps that are rated ESRB Everyone but contain ads for gambling content
- Apps for parents or care-givers (e.g., breastfeeding tracker, developmental guide)
- Parent guides or device management apps that are only intended for use by parents or care-givers
If you are accepted to participate in the Designed for Families program, you can choose a second Families-specific category that describes your app. Here are the categories available for apps participating in the Designed for Families program:
Action & Adventure: Action-oriented apps/games, including everything from simplistic racing games to fairy tale adventures, to other apps and games that are designed to generate excitement.
Brain Games: Games that make the user think, including puzzles, matching games, quizzes, and other games that challenge the memory, intelligence or logic.
Creativity: Apps and games that spur creativity, including drawing apps, painting apps, coding apps, and other apps and games where you can build things.
Education: Apps and games designed with input from learning experts (e.g., educators, learning specialists, researchers) to promote learning, including academic, social-emotional, physical, and creative learning, as well as learning related to basic life skills, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Music and Video: Apps and games with a musical or video component, including everything from instrument simulation apps to apps that provide video and musical audio content.
Pretend Play: Apps and games where the user can pretend to take on a role, for example, pretending to be a chef, care-giver, prince/princess, firefighter, police person or fictional character.
The policies below apply to any advertising (including both for your apps and for third party apps), offers for in-app purchase, or any other commercial content (such as paid product placement) that is served to users of apps that are subject to the Families Policy Requirements and/or the Designed for Families Requirements. All advertising, offers for in-app purchase, and commercial content in these apps must comply with all applicable laws and regulations (including any relevant self-regulatory or industry guidelines).
Google Play reserves the right to enforce on apps for overly aggressive commercial tactics.
Ad format requirements
Ads and offers for in-app purchases must not have deceptive content or be designed in a way that will result in inadvertent clicks from child users. The following are prohibited:
- Use of Ad walls
- Interstitial ads or offers for in-app purchase displayed immediately upon app launch
- Multiple ad placements on a page
- Ads or offers for in-app purchases that are not clearly distinguishable from your app content
- Not providing a distinction between the use of virtual game coins versus real-life money to make in-app purchases
Here are some examples of common ad format violations
- Ads that move away from a user's finger as the user tries to close it
- Ads that take up the majority or the device screen without providing the user a clear way to dismiss it, as depicted in the example below:
- Banner ads showing multiple offers, as depicted in the example below:
- Ads that could be mistaken by a user for app content, as depicted in the example below:
- Buttons or ads that promote your other Google Play store listings but that are indistinguishable from app content, as depicted in the example below:
- Inappropriate Media Content: Ads for TV shows, movies, music albums, or any other media outlet that are not appropriate for children.
- Inappropriate Video Games & Downloadable Software: Ads for downloadable software and electronic video games that are not appropriate for children.
- Controlled or Harmful Substances: Ads for alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, or any other harmful substances.
- Gambling: Ads for simulated gambling, contests or sweepstakes promotions, even if free to enter.
- Adult and Sexually Suggestive Content: Ads with sexual, sexually suggestive and mature content.
- Dating or Relationships: Ads for dating or adult relationship sites.
- Violent Content: Ads with violent and graphic content that is not appropriate for children.
Only Google Play certified ad networks can be used to serve ads to children. Apps in the Designed for Families program are required to only use Google Play certified ad networks. For apps that also target adult users, non-certified ad networks may be used if a neutral age screen is present in the app and non-certified ad networks are only used to serve ads to known adult users.
Please refer to the Certified Ad Network policy page for more details on these requirements and to see the current list of approved ad networks.
If you use AdMob, refer to the AdMob Help Center for more details on their products.
It is your responsibility to ensure your app satisfies all requirements concerning advertisements, in-app purchases, and commercial content. Contact your ad network(s) to learn more about their content policies and advertising practices.
Google Play will re-authenticate all users prior to any in-app purchases in apps participating in the Designed for Families program. This measure is to help ensure that the financially responsible party, and not children, are approving purchases.
Avoiding a policy violation is always better than managing one, but when violations do occur, we’re committed to ensuring developers understand how they can bring their app into compliance. Please let us know if you see any violations or have any questions about managing a violation.
Our policies apply to any content your app displays or links to, including any ads it shows to users and any user-generated content it hosts or links to. Further, they apply to any content from your developer account which is publicly displayed in Google Play, including your developer name and the landing page of your listed developer website.
We don't allow apps that let users install other apps to their devices. Apps that provide access to other apps, games, or software without installation, including features and experiences provided by third parties, must ensure that all the content they provide access to adheres to all Google Play policies and may also be subject to additional policy reviews.
Defined terms used in these policies have the same meaning as in the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA). In addition to complying with these policies and the DDA, the content of your app must be rated in accordance with our Content Rating Guidelines.
Apps that may be inappropriate for a broad audience or result in a low quality experience for our end users may not be eligible for promotion on Google Play. Such apps will, however, remain available on Google Play so long as they are in compliance with these policies and the DDA.
Google reserves the discretion to include or remove apps from Google Play. We may take action based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, a pattern of harmful behavior or high risk of abuse. We identify risk of abuse using various items such as previous violation history, user feedback, and use of popular brands, characters, and other assets.
If your app violates any of our policies, it will be removed from Google Play, and you will receive an email notification with the specific reason for removal. Repeated or serious violations (such as malware, fraud, and apps that may cause user or device harm) of these policies or the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA) will result in termination of individual or related accounts.
Please note that removal or administrative notices may not indicate each and every policy violation present in your app or broader app catalog. Developers are responsible for addressing any flagged policy issue and conducting extra due diligence to ensure that the remainder of their app is fully policy compliant. Failure to address violations may result in additional enforcement actions, including permanent removal of your app or account termination.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a removal or a rating/comment from a user, you may refer to the resources below or contact us through the Google Play Help Center. We cannot, however, offer you legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult legal counsel.