updated 09:16 pm EDT, Mon August 19, 2013
New, separate Kids section designed to aid parents, provide more app info
Apple has sent out emails to developers letting them know that any apps they have that are aimed primarily at children (age 11 and under) will need to be rated under one of three new ranges in order to go into the new Kids category of the iOS App Store, which is coming with the arrival of iOS 7 this fall. Developers can choose from "5 & Under," "Ages 6-8" and "Ages 9-11," for their app, but can only pick from one of the three options. Existing apps not already in the Kids subcategory now will need to submit a new version for review.
"The new category provides parents with a place on the App Store to find age-appropriate apps for their children," the email reads in part. "Starting this fall, the currently-existing Kids subcategory will no longer be displayed on the App Store," it continues, noting that "Kids" will become its own category. The new Kids section will have subcategories, finally separating educational apps from non-educational games for example.
The move comes on the heels of the company making its own changes to comply with the Children's Online Protection Act (COPPA) and opening up the various online app, media and e-book stores to accounts from children under the age of 13 (though kids can only have such accounts through their educational institution and with parental approval). Per COPPA guidelines, apps aimed at children can no longer collect photos, videos or audio from under-13 account holders, or present targeted ads. Apple has also created more specific definitions of how apps should be categorized for the new age ranges to help developers who may not be sure.