Ads are unavoidable. They are in a significant portion of the apps you download, on almost every website and bombard us with television and radio. Some ad implementations are so annoying that Google has explicitly disallowed them from the Play Store.
The recent advertising scourge is ad-infused lockscreens, which have shown up in previously safe apps like ES File Explorer, Peel, and Hotspot Shield VPN. Finally, Google has banned apps from the play store that show ads on the lockscreen.
Google did not offer any information regarding this sudden change in policy except a one-liner that reads: “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”.
The new policy clearly mentions that the only apps whose actual motive is to interact and improve the lockscreen are permitted to display ads. Apps like Apps like photo editors, VPNs, malware scanners, password managers, or others, whose role and purpose are quite evident, cannot avail the lock screen to monetize installs.
The scheme will seek only to apps uploaded and made accessible through the Play Store. Google did not mention when it will start pulling apps from the store that break this policy, but it is expected that a formal announcement will be made in the following days.
The policy change is long overdue, as lockscreen ads are often so invasive that they sometimes appear on top of the PIN pad, or other legitimate features.
There have also been instances when badly applied lock screen ads have intervened with the actual device screen-locking function and permitted third-parties to bypass phone’s pin.
However, in most cases, shady app developers have misguided users with fake promises into using their custom lock screen, which then rotated through several ads while the phone was charging, earning the app developer a profit.