Apple is rejecting coronavirus tracking apps that aren’t from recognized institutions like doctors, hospitals, or governments, app developers say.
CNBC reports that searches for “coronavirus” or “COVID-19″ on Apple’s App Store reveals few apps geared around the outbreak and almost no spam. A search for the same terms on Google’s app store returns no results.
Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps, which would allow people to see stats about which countries have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps.
One developer said an Apple employee explained over the phone that anything related to the coronavirus must be released by an official health organization or government. Another developer got a written response that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution,” according to a screenshot seen by CNBC.
The restriction appears to be working, as search results show few apps about the outbreak and no obvious spam. But it could also reduce the availability of software that would enable iPhone users to track the outbreak, and raise fairness questions about who is allowed to develop apps for iPhones.
MacDailyNews Take: Thank you, Apple, for working to prevent the spread of misinformation by not accepting coronavirus tracking apps that aren’t from recognized institutions. iPhone users who want to track the outbreak, fire up Safari and go here. Mac and iPad users go here.