Last updated on 21 May 2022 by Leah Hamilton (Qualified Solicitor. Writer at TermsFeed)
This article will get you started with writing your own custom Terms and Conditions agreement for a mobile app.
We've also put together a Sample Mobile App Terms and Conditions Template that you can use to help write your own.
Our Terms and Conditions Generator makes it easy to create a Terms and Conditions agreement for your app. Just follow these steps:
Enter the email address where you'd like the T&C delivered and click "Generate."
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The Terms & Conditions agreement for a mobile app is a legal agreement that users will agree to when using your app. In this agreement, you'll be able to keep control over some aspects of the use of your app.
When you make your mobile app available to the public, you're letting users interact with your app in a number of ways.
Some of these ways include:
When you have this relationship between your app and those who use it, you're going to want to have some sort of control over the use of your app. That's where your mobile app Terms & Conditions agreement comes in.
You can include:
You can also maintain your rights including the right to exclude abusive users from your app, ownership rights in your content and legal rights against liability.
Not only does a Terms & Conditions agreement come with benefits to you, but it can also benefit your mobile app users. The agreement lets them know what you expect from them, what rights they have, and practical information like how to send payments, cancel an account, etc.
Your business will benefit in a number of ways when you have a Terms and Conditions agreement for your app and require users to agree to its terms before they use your app. Some of these benefits include the following:
All of these benefits and more are obtained by including specific clauses and requiring your users to agree to be bound by them so that you can later enforce them if need be.
Your users will benefit by having an explanation of their rights, rules they must follow, and what they can expect when using your app.
A Terms & Conditions agreement can help users understand what is expected of them by explaining things like how payments must be made, what a user must refrain from doing, and how to reach customer support with any concerns or for assistance.
Some mobile apps are extremely simple. These simple apps just present information or content to a user. Users may be able to search the app, as in the case of a dictionary app or news content app, but the interaction will be limited. There is no user-generated content or purchasing functionality.
These kind of apps tend to have more basic Terms and Conditions than more complex types of apps. Common clauses for these simple apps include:
Terms and Conditions are great for limiting and restricting unwanted and undesirable behavior or activity on your mobile app no matter how simple or complex your app is.
Also, while app stores don't explicitly require you to have a Terms and Conditions agreement with your app, there are some direct ways that having one can help you meet other app store requirements.
For example, the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement requires that you grant your users a "nonexclusive, worldwide, and perpetual license to perform, display, and use the Product on the Device."
You could cover this in the End-User License Agreement (EULA) or cover it in your Terms and Conditions agreement along with other clauses that are useful for your Android app.
Apps in the Apple App Store can benefit from Apple's standard EULA that binds users when they download your app. Like the Google Play Store, you can choose to add your own agreement instead of Apple's default one.
For native apps, you may use a Terms and Conditions and an EULA because you'll be licensing your users a copy of your software to download and use on their device.
Your mobile app Terms & Conditions will vary depending on the type of app you distribute, the services you offer, the amount of user interaction you allow and other unique features of your app.
However, there are 14 common clauses that can be found in Terms and Conditions for most apps:
Here's a description and examples of each of these clauses.
If your mobile app Terms & Conditions uses words or terms in ways that are specific to your business, different than the accepted norm or has terms that can easily be too broadly interpreted, consider including a "Definitions" clause.
This clause is where you can define what specific words mean in the context of your Terms & Conditions.
For example, Strath's T&C defines simple words like "Deliverable" to let users know what exactly it includes, as well as what it excludes:
If you choose to include a "Definitions" clause, here are some tips:
You can use definitions to shorten your agreement
If you develop or distribute SaaS apps, this is an important clause for you to include in your app Terms & Conditions.
A "License to Use" clause is where you grant a limited license to your users.
The language used in this clause tends to be similar throughout T&C's and usually states that a user is granted a "non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sharable, revocable, limited license to use the app/service solely for personal, non-commercial use in accordance with the terms of the T&C."
Here's an example of a short and to the point License to Use clause from IGG.
Many developers choose to include restrictions and limitations on what a user can do with the license in this section.
Here's an example from WASH that lets users know that the license does not transfer any rights to users. It also makes users agree to a number of restrictions including not selling, reselling, copying, reproducing, modifying or distributing the app.
Your "Prohibited Conduct" clause is where you let users know what they aren't allowed to do while using your app. This clause typically will contain a number of general prohibitions, including prohibitions on:
Here's an example of a fairly standard Prohibited Conduct clause in a mobile app Terms & Conditions agreement, again from WASH:
If your app has special restrictions, such as apps that require users to be above a specific age or deal with content that's not legal everywhere, you can address those points in this clause.
For example, STN Sports - a casino and gambling app - requires users to be in the state of Nevada while using the app, and all users must be 21 years of age or older. This is listed out in its Prohibited Conduct clause along with the other more generally-applicable prohibitions.
Including this clause in your Terms & Conditions makes it possible for you to legally terminate user accounts.
You may want to terminate an account that's being abusive, violating your rules or is behind on payments. You can also retain the right to terminate accounts at your full discretion.
Here's an example of a very short but to the point termination clause from WASH:
You can also use this clause to discuss how a user can terminate an account, what happens when an account gets terminated by either party, any refunds if applicable, and other important points related to account termination.
Here's an example of a more robust and informative termination clause from ZoomInfo.
Regardless of which direction you go in with this clause (short and simple, or more robust), the main thing it needs to accomplish is to at minimum reserve your right to terminate user accounts.
If you choose to go with a more simple "Termination" clause, you can include a separate clause that lets users know how to go about canceling or terminating accounts with you.
Here's an example from Borrow My Doggy that includes simple but thorough information about cancelling accounts.
Some key points to include in your "Cancellation" clause are:
You'll want to include a clause that makes it clear that your content is yours, and you reserve all rights to it. This can be intellectual property, graphics, written content, software code and other components of your app.
In this clause, state that your content is yours and that it cannot be used unlawfully or without permission.
Here's an example from Borrow My Doggy:
If your app allows users to generate content, you'll want to address that content in your mobile app Terms & Conditions.
The two main points you'll want to cover are:
Typically, when an app allows user-generated content, the developer will not claim ownership of the material but will maintain the right to use the content.
Here's an example of a fairly standard clause from Borrow My Doggy that covers user generated content:
As you can see, the content remains owned by the user who posts it, while the company gets "a worldwide, royalty-free, sub-licensable, non-exclusive license to copy, distribute, transmit, reproduce, publicly display, edit, translate or publish" the content on the platform.
Note that some use of the user-generated content does call for permission from the user, such as using it for promotional purposes or on social media.
If your U.S.-based mobile app allows users to share and post user-generated content, this is an important clause for you to include.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act applies only to U.S. businesses and works to minimize copyright infringement. According to the DMCA, you must respond to takedown notices of alleged copyright infringement and remove any content that users post on your website or app that they don't own the rights to.
Include a DMCA Notice clause in your Terms & Conditions. In this clause, let users know:
Here's how Dropbox includes its DMCA policy along with very clear steps for how to submit a DMCA notice.
If your mobile app offers subscriptions, has an e-commerce component or has in-app purchases, you should include a clause that discusses the details of payments.
You can discuss things like acceptable methods of payments, how automatically-renewing subscriptions will be charged, if you use third parties to process payments and anything else you feel would be important and useful for your users to know about.
Here's an example of a thorough clause from Basecamp:
It's common to see information in these clauses about what happens with payments when a user cancels an account or a subscription.
This "Renewal and Cancellation" clause from Spotify lets users know that subscriptions will automatically renew unless canceled before the end of the current subscription period and that the cancellation will take place after the last day of service. Refunds are also discussed:
You're going to want to maintain the right to update or modify your Terms as needed. Include in this clause that by continuing to use your app after your Terms & Conditions have been changed, a user will be deemed to accept your terms.
This makes it so that you don't have to obtain active agreement to your Terms from a user more than once. Otherwise, every time you update your Terms a user could claim that he never agreed to that new document - only the original, pre-change Terms agreement.
Here's an example from Bar Venture that includes the following important points:
Here's another example from WASH that says the same thing in a shorter, more to the point way:
Even if you don't foresee changing your Terms, include this clause anyway. It's better to have it and never use it than need to use it and not have it in your initial agreement.
This clause will be fairly boilerplate and standard across the board. They tend to have a lot of legalese, and be in all capital letters.
You'll want to let users know that:
Here's such a clause from Bar Venture:
This is another clause in your mobile app Terms & Conditions that will be fairly standard and boilerplate.
Here is where you let users know that you will not be held liable for any damages that arise from the use of your app.
Common points mentioned in this clause include no liability for:
Here's an example from Basecamp:
If your app is distributed around the world, this clause is especially important.
The governing Law clause is where you tell your users what laws your mobile app Terms & Conditions will fall under if a dispute arises.
Typically, businesses set the governing law to the jurisdiction they're headquartered in or do most of their business in.
Imagine a situation where you're a U.S. business and a user of your app who's located in China sues you for damages. Without a governing law clause, Chinese law may apply to the lawsuit. You can see why this would be more than undesirable to developers and distributors of apps.
By including a governing law clause, you can set your desired law and your users will have to agree to this.
While your app may not need all of these clauses, it will likely need most of them.
This is in contrast to the outdated browsewrap method, which is where your user is assumed to have agreed to the Terms and Conditions by virtue of them browsing through your app.
Most courts have held that clickwrap is legally binding, while browsewrap is not, as users don't receive sufficient notice of the terms under a browsewrap method.
Here's an example of a clickwrap method in use by Pizza Hut:
Setting up a clickwrap method is simple. When your user first downloads and opens the app, you can include a pop-up or opening screen that requires your user to agree to your legal agreements such as your Terms and Conditions before they continue to use the app. Or, when your user opens the app, they are prompted to set up a user account and agree to the Terms and Conditions as part of that process.
While you aren't required to have a Terms and Conditions agreement available with your mobile app, it's easy to see why both you and your app users would benefit from one.
You'll maintain better control over the use of your app, and your users will know what they can and cannot do. Just make sure you get your users to agree to your Terms and Conditions when they first open your app, and make sure to use a solid clickwrap method to get agreement.
Remember, your Terms & Conditions is where you put forth the rules and guidelines that users must follow when using your app, so you have a lot of flexibility with what you include. Some T&C's are exceptionally long, while others just have a few main important clauses.
Use this sample outline as a starting point to creating your own mobile app Terms & Conditions and you'll have a strong, solid base for your agreement that you can customize depending on the needs of your app.
This free Sample App Terms and Conditions Template is available for download and includes these sections:
You can download the Sample App Terms and Conditions Template as HTML code below. Copy it from the box field below (right-click > Select All and then Copy-paste) and then paste it on your website pages.
More specific T&Cs Templates are available over our blog.
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|Sample EULA Template||An End-User License Agreement for mobile apps.|