Apple releases official statement on the removal of parental control apps from the App Store

Apple Inc. has released an official statement regarding the removal of parental control apps from the App Store. Here it is, verbatim:

APPLE STATEMENT
April 28, 2019

The facts about parental control apps

Apple has always believed that parents should have tools to manage their children’s device usage. It’s the reason we created, and continue to develop, Screen Time. Other apps in the App Store, including Balance Screen Time by Moment Health and Verizon Smart Family, give parents the power to balance the benefits of technology with other activities that help young minds learn and grow.

We recently removed several parental control apps from the App Store, and we did it for a simple reason: they put users’ privacy and security at risk. It’s important to understand why and how this happened.

Over the last year, we became aware that several of these parental control apps were using a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM. MDM gives a third party control and access over a device and its most sensitive information including user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history. We started exploring this use of MDM by non-enterprise developers back in early 2017 and updated our guidelines based on that work in mid-2017.

MDM does have legitimate uses. Businesses will sometimes install MDM on enterprise devices to keep better control over proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky — and a clear violation of App Store policies — for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device. Beyond the control that the app itself can exert over the user’s device, research has shown that MDM profiles could be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes.

Parents shouldn’t have to trade their fears of their children’s device usage for risks to privacy and security, and the App Store should not be a platform to force this choice. No one, except you, should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device.

When we found out about these guideline violations, we communicated these violations to the app developers, giving them 30 days to submit an updated app to avoid availability interruption in the App Store. Several developers released updates to bring their apps in line with these policies. Those that didn’t were removed from the App Store.
We created the App Store to provide a secure, vibrant marketplace where developers and entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to users worldwide, and users can have faith that the apps they discover meet Apple’s standards of security and responsibility.

Apple has always supported third-party apps on the App Store that help parents manage their kids’ devices. Contrary to what The New York Times reported over the weekend, this isn’t a matter of competition. It’s a matter of security.

In this app category, and in every category, we are committed to providing a competitive, innovative app ecosystem. There are many tremendously successful apps that offer functions and services similar to Apple’s in categories like messaging, maps, email, music, web browsers, photos, note-taking apps, contact managers and payment systems, just to name a few. We are committed to offering a place for these apps to thrive as they improve the user experience for everyone.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is right to enforce strict guideline violations, especially in cases as concerning as MDM abuse. It’s simply a matter of security.

SEE ALSO:
Apple cracks down on screen-time and parental-control apps – April 27, 2019
Kaspersky Lab files antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store in Russia – March 19, 2019
Screen Time: Will we actually reclaim our time from iPhones and iPads in 2019? – December 26, 2018

13 Comments

  1. Completely agree with Apple and MacDailyNews…your movements and activities and those of your children who use Apple devices are your business, not everyone else’s. It isn’t worth taking a risk by providing that data to 3rd parties whom haven’t committed themselves to adherence to security/privacy standards now or in the future.

    Well done, Apple.

  2. No! I’m gonna chuck my toys OUT of the pram and say Apple are a pile of sheet for taking away MY RIGHT to have privacy stealing apps on my iPhone! Yes! I own an iPhone. I might be a hypocritical cynic but I am not stupid!

    1. No one is forcing you to buy an iPhone, you have other choices, you can even jailbreak it if you really want….so what “right” are they taking from you? Don’t like the App Store….don’t buy the phone.

      1. Exactly the opposite. If you don’t want to buy your Apps from a anyone other than the Apple App Store, would be free to do so, you shouldn’t HAVE to have the only store.

        And if I didn’t choose to buy an iPhone (I didn’t, I have iPads) the criticism is valid.

        1. ZScurvyDogZ’s point is still valid. There are tablets running Android, Windows and Linux. Heck, you can even run tablets with Ubuntu. If you hate the Apple ecosystem, you can choose any number of tablets.

          If your lack of a choice about your ownership of iOS includes your iPads (they may have been gifts) then sell them of regift them. I am sure somebody would love to have them and the increased security of the app store.

          Heck, donate them to a lower income school.

          Back to ZScurvyDogZ’s point, you can even jailbrake your iPads then load them with all the stuff you can find. Become an iOS developer and load stuff on you iPads that you find the source code for and compile yourself.

          There are choices other than whining that Apple is not fair.

          1. You refuse to understand that I would like choices of where to buy Apps for my own property.

            Even if I didn’t own iPads, it’s a fair criticism. I want my hardware no not be tied to a store.

    1. Exactly. I thought this was the point of the App Store from the beginning, not to allow suspicious, malicious, or mischievous code into our computers.

      Thanks Apple!!

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