Apple Cites Security Concerns Following Removal of Parental Control Apps

Tech giant, Apple has cited security concerns for the removal of several parental control apps following complaints from the app developers.

AppStore icon app on the screen iPhone. App Store is a digital distribution service for mobile apps on iOS platform, developed by Apple Inc. Moscow, Russia - March 12, 2019 - Image

Apple has come out to defend its position after several app makers complained that the company had removed its products after it launched its own similar software. The tech giant stated that the apps were excluded because of the privacy and security risks they pose to the users.

Apple Gives a Reason for App Removals

A few days ago, several app developers complained to The New York Times that their apps were taken down by Apple when the company introduced its own similar tool. However, Apple defended its position, stating that the apps were taken down due to the privacy and security threats they pose to its mobile device users.

The company adds that the app developers have been given time to make changes to their software to meet Apple’s guidelines. The complaint from the developers comes after Apple launched its Screen Time app for its iOS mobile users.

Screen Time allows users to track how much time they spend on their favorite apps. It also enables parents to set how much time their kids can spend on applications and websites. The app developers maintained that Apple’s removal of their products was a move to reduce competition for Screen Time.

In an official blog post by Apple, the company explained that it was forced to remove those apps from its store as they were utilizing Mobile Device Management (MDM) to manage children’s mobile devices, a move it considers risky.

While several companies make use of the MDM to oversee what their employees do on their smartphones, Apple said using it for family-focused time management tools is not appropriate. In its blog post, Apple mentioned that MDM enables third parties to control and have access to a device’s sensitive data like user location, camera permissions, browsing history, email accounts, and app use.

It’s a Matter of Security

Apple stated that the allegations made in the report by The New York Times were false as the removal of the apps was a matter of security rather than competition. The company maintains that it’s App Store has always served as a secure and vibrant marketplace for developers and entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to users all over the globe. However, it would not put its mobile device users privacy or security at risk.

The company maintains that parents do not have to trade their desire to control what their kids do on their mobile devices for privacy and security risks. Thus, the App Store would not be the platform to encourage this act, with the company adding that only parents should have unrestricted access to manage their children’s devices.

According to the New York Times report, Apple has taken down or restricted 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps. The company has also suppressed the progress of some lesser-known apps, forcing them to eliminate features that enabled parents to control their children’s smartphones and other similar features.

The affected app developers believe that Apple is systematically killing the industry with its bans and restrictions.

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