Apple Backs off Course on Parental Control Apps Ban

Apple Parental Control Apps Ban Image

Apple reversed course on parental control apps has been the buzz everywhere. Apple Recently updated its App Store Guidelines and came to compromise after lengthy negotiable conversations. Many app developers who developed parental control apps and screen tracking were warned to make changes in their monitoring technologies. If not, they were said to be removed completely from the App Store.

It seems like Apple has taken a decision to go back to all the claims which it made earlier against these apps. Apple came up with new Policy Guidelines in one of its websites or Blog Posts for Developers. It said that Parental Control Apps can now use the technologies which apple earlier removed on iPhone.

Apple acknowledged some parental control apps are using MDM technology and keeping the security and privacy of children at risk. As per Apple, these apps were at security risk as they can control the user’s device with the use of M.D.M. As antitrust investigations are looming around Apple, the company quietly reversed back its statement on the ban of Parental Control Apps.

Recently, Apple said that parental-control apps can now use two technologies namely Mobile Device Management (M.D.M) and Virtual Private Network (V.P.N) which were not allowed previously. Parents can take control of Child’s Phone using Mobile Device Management. The Later One is Virtual Private Network by which Parents can block certain apps on their Child’s Phone.

These Device Management Tools provides third-party access and control of user’s information. It includes data such as user’s location, email account, browsing history, camera permissions, etc. However, these technologies have legitimate uses in enterprise businesses to control hardware and proprietary data. But, it is a violation of App Store Guidelines to install MDM Control for Private Users.

Developers of Parental Monitoring Tools came together to provide a solution and said that “Apple Should release a public API granting developers access to the same functionalities that Apple’s native ‘Screen Time’ uses.” By giving Access to Screen Time App, Apple can prevent the need for the kind of controls that developers are taking.

Apple has now changed its guidelines indicating the apps that are using MDM technology. That is, those apps need to request the MDM capability and only commercial enterprises may offer them, such as educational institutions, government agencies or business organizations and in some cases, the companies that are using MDM for parental controls may also offer.

MDM Apps can’t disclose, use or sell any data to third parties and should commit as per their privacy policy. Essentially, Apple didn’t grant access to Screen Time App and just reversed its privacy policy as per the suggestion of companies consortium. It’s strange that Apple didn’t come to a compromise with App Makers as it is really concerned about user security.

Apps removed due to non-compliance with Apple’s Previous Rules needs to reapply for inclusion. App Developers need not make major structural changes in order to meet Apple’s Guidelines.

New Apple’s Developer Guidelines let you know how Apple is trying to be more consistent towards developers using its platform. This can be in order to avoid the legal interventions which can be unfavorable to Apple. Hoping, this is a long term plan of Apple and the current change made in the guidelines is a temporary measure to cool down.

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