Apple addresses concerns over crackdown on third-party parental control apps

Apple is explaining why it's been removing third-party parental control apps over the past several months

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported on Apple’s removal of several third-party parental controls apps from the App Store.

Now, Apple has issued a public statement on why it’s been cracking down on these apps.

In a post on its website, Apple says it became aware over the past year of several apps that were using Mobile Device Management (MDM) to monitor device usage.

According to Apple, MDM is intended for enterprises to provide better control over their own data and hardware. However, Apple does not allow MDM in consumer-focused apps, stating that companies should not have control over other peoples’ data and that doing so can even make them susceptible to hackers.

“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,” Apple said in its statement.

Apple has also addressed claims by some developers in the Times report that it is removing these apps because they compete with its own Screen Time feature. As noted by the Times, Apple began taking down these apps following the rollout of Screen Time in iOS 12 last September. Last month, anti-virus provider Kaspersky similarly accused Apple of cracking down on its Kaspersky Safe Kids app in an attempt to prop up Screen Time.

“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,” said Apple.

The affected app developers also criticized how Apple originally communicated to them that their apps did not meet Apple’s privacy requirements.

In its statement, Apple said it notified the app developers who violated its rules and gave them 30 days to update their apps to adhere to Apple’s policies. Apple says several app makers complied, while those that did not have had their apps removed.

However, developers told the Times that they made multiple requests for more information on the specific app changes Apple required them to make, but the tech giant’s staff either did not give enough support or did not respond altogether.

Apple did not address these criticisms in its statement.

Source: Apple