App terms and conditions are an important legal document for app developers and owners, as they establish the rules and restrictions for app use. Terms and conditions for mobile apps help protect your intellectual property, prevent misuse of your app, and limit legal disputes.
This guide will go over what app terms and conditions are, how they benefit you and users, and how to write terms and conditions for your app. Check out examples of other app’s terms, and download our free app terms and conditions template below.
- What Are Mobile App Terms and Conditions?
- Are Terms and Conditions for My Mobile App Required?
- App Store Terms and Conditions Requirements
- Common Clauses to Include in Your App Terms and Conditions
- Terms and Conditions By App Type
- Getting User Agreement to Your App Terms and Conditions
- Mobile App Terms and Conditions Samples
- How to Write Terms and Conditions for Mobile Apps
- Free Mobile App Terms and Conditions Template
- App Terms and Conditions FAQs
1. What Are Mobile App Terms and Conditions?
Business owners and app developers often use the same terms and conditions for both their website and mobile applications in order to keep their terms consistent across all platforms.
App terms and conditions help protect the owner’s intellectual property, and allow them to prohibit unwanted user activity and terminate user accounts that violate their terms.
App terms and conditions are different from disclaimers and privacy policies because terms and conditions outline your rights and rules for your app, whereas disclaimers help reduce legal liabilities and privacy policies disclose your data handling practices.
Unlike terms and conditions and disclaimers, privacy policies are often required by law.
2. Are Terms and Conditions for My Mobile App Required?
No, terms and conditions for your mobile app are not legally required. However, including terms and conditions on your mobile app is strongly recommended, as they give both you and your end-users certain advantages.
While it may be tempting to use the terms and conditions of one of your competitors, it is advised that you do not copy the policies of another website.
How Mobile App Terms and Conditions Benefit You
Mobile app terms and conditions benefit you and your users by allowing you to establish and maintain your rights as the app owner. They also help users understand what is expected of them when using the app.
Here are some benefits of having app terms and conditions:
- Protection from abusive users: You have the right to suspend or delete the accounts of abusive users who violate your app’s terms and conditions. Prohibited activities could include copyright infringement, spamming other users, and general misuse of your app.
- Arbitration over litigation: You can choose to settle disputes via arbitration, which can be more efficient and cost-effective than litigation.
- Limited liability: This will vary from case to case, but including disclaimers in your terms and conditions can help limit your liabilities if disputes arise.
- User benefits: Your terms and conditions agreement should explain the finer points of your app to the user, like how payment processing works, what kind of behavior is expected of users, and how to contact customer support. It should also tell them what rights they have as a user.
Having terms and conditions for your app is best for your business interests and users’ convenience.
3. App Store Terms and Conditions Requirements
App stores have specific requirements for app developers when it comes to terms and conditions agreements. How this affects your mobile application depends on which platform you choose to use.
It should be noted that the most common legal agreement for mobile apps is the end-user license agreement (EULA).
This agreement grants the purchaser the right to use the software. Currently, the two most common platforms to purchase and develop apps are Apple and Google Play.
Apple’s Terms and Conditions Requirements
Apple provides a standard EULA that the user accepts upon downloading an app. You can choose to use Apple’s default agreement, or you have the option of writing your own.
Terms and Conditions Requirements For Android Apps
Google Play’s stipulations require app developers to acknowledge Google’s right to use their own “Developer Brand Features…solely in connection with the distribution and sale of Developer’s Product through Google Play.” This grants Google certain privileges regarding your brand as long as you use their app store.
4. Common Clauses to Include in Your App Terms and Conditions
To create an app terms and conditions agreement, there are some common clauses you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at some of these clauses.
Proper or Expected Usage
This clause explains how your app is intended to be used, and what users are expected to do when they use it. Setting boundaries for app use allows you to take action in the event that a user misuses your app.
Prohibited Rights and Responsibilities of Uses
In addition to laying out rules for proper use of your app, you should also clearly outline what users can not do on your app. For example, users may be prohibited from spamming, copyright infringement, or collecting data without authorization.
Intellectual Property Protection
This clause protects your intellectual property by informing users who the proprietor is, and identifying what your intellectual property consists of.
You should inform users that they will be held accountable for their actions and conduct when using your app.
Provide clear explanations of the payment processes and payment details for your app. Topics to address might include subscription fees, payment methods, cancelation, and promotional offers.
Disclaimers and Warranties
To reduce legal liabilities related to app use, include a limitation of liability disclaiming that you’re not held accountable for potential losses, and injuries due to app use.
If a user decides to delete their account, explain step-by-step how they are to do it.
This clause can also be used to declare your authority to terminate or suspend accounts of users who violate the terms and conditions.
Terms and Conditions Updates
You need to inform users if and when you make changes to your app, and explain how these changes will affect them.
5. Terms and Conditions By App Type
As the complexity of apps vary, the terms you include in your agreement will vary as well. Let’s look at the standard terms and conditions agreements for three categories of apps:
1. Simple apps
These apps have a simple function and are easy to use, such as clock or dictionary apps. Common clauses for simple mobile apps include:
- Ownership of content
- Right to change the app at any time
- Prohibited uses
- Warranty and liability disclaimers
- Right to terminate user accounts
2. Software as a Service (SaaS) Apps
These apps are more complex because they rely on an external cloud to bring their service to users, such as Google Docs or Instagram.
Because these apps are often content-sharing platforms, SaaS terms and conditions commonly include a clause addressing user-generated content.
Your terms and conditions should go over ownership rights and rules for user-generated content. For example:
- Users maintain ownership of the content they create
- App owner can restrict abusive behavior
- App owner can delete inappropriate user-generated content
3. Ecommerce Apps
Apps that are used for ecommerce have two main purposes: they either sell products from the app itself, or they connect users who are interested in buying, selling, and trading amongst themselves via the app’s platform.
Your ecommerce terms and conditions should go over:
- How different types of transactions will be handled
- Payment terms
- Your shipping policy
- Your return and refund policy
6. Getting User Agreement to Your App Terms and Conditions
To ensure that users see and agree to your app terms and conditions, make sure they are easy to find, or get users to agree to your terms before they can proceed using your app.
There are three common ways to get user consent to your terms:
1. The Clickwrap Method
Many mobile apps implement the clickwrap method to guarantee that users are aware of their terms and conditions. This method gets users to manually agree to your mobile app’s terms before they are permitted to use your app, as seen in the example below.
2. The Browsewrap Method
The browsewrap method assumes that users accept the terms and conditions by simply “accessing or using the Services,” as is implied in Uber’s agreement below. To make sure users can find the agreement, most apps hyperlink it to a main page or homepage.
3. The Consent Banner Method
The consent banner method combines elements of both clickwrap and browsewrap. Consent banners are less intrusive than clickwrap as they still allow users to access your mobile app, yet they are more binding than browsewrap as they don’t assume consent.
These banners appear at the bottom, top, or either side of a user’s screen and include an unticked checkbox or a button asking for user consent to your terms and conditions.
While a banner can make users aware of your terms and conditions in an obvious way, note that banners aren’t mandatory. You can simply link your terms and conditions in your app’s footer or menu.
7. Mobile App Terms and Conditions Samples
App terms and conditions differ in appearance and content depending on the purpose of the app. Below are some good examples of mobile app terms and conditions agreements.
Clash of Clans
Alarm Clock for Me
SaaS app Alarm Clock for Me has a feature that requires users’ permission for the app to use Location Services.
Viber also prompts the user to accept the terms and conditions before proceeding to use the app, but you can’t view it on the app itself.
Photofy is a SaaS app that encourages and thrives on user-generated content. Because Photofy depends so much on its users, they need a sturdy terms and conditions agreement to ensure that users follow the rules when using their service.
Photofy requires users to accept their terms before they can create an account.
8. How to Write Terms and Conditions for Mobile Apps
Although mobile app terms and conditions aren’t legally required, it’s a best practice to have them for your app as they serve as a legally binding agreement that benefits you and your users.
App terms and conditions often feature the following clauses:
- Proper app usage
- Prohibited activities
- Limitation of liability and warranty disclaimers
- Account termination
- Intellectual property protection
Display your app terms and conditions in prominent places on your app, or get user agreement to your terms and conditions using clickwrap, browsewrap, or a banner.
Create terms and conditions for your mobile app by downloading our free template below, or using our free terms and conditions generator.
9. Free Mobile App Terms and Conditions Template
Whether you copy and paste or download the template below, please remember that this is just a template and should be edited to match your mobile app. Read through the entire policy before using it – fill in all of the [brackets], remove any sections that do not apply to your app, and tweak any language as needed.