Recent reports have highlighted that Apple has systematically been removing third-party time tracking and parental control apps from the App Store over the past year. This has led to severe problems for developers who had built their businesses around these apps and has even led to an antitrust lawsuit. Apple’s Phil Schiller has now explained the reason for these app removals.
Responding in an email to a Macrumors reader, Apple’s Phil Schiller explained that these third-party screen time apps are being removed because they abused the mobile device management system to track all data and activity, particularly on children’s’ devices in order to provide that information to parents who downloaded said app.
Schiller points out that this is a privacy concern which Apple can’t allow to continue and did mention that Apple will not reject apps for the App Store that use alternative methods of providing this information to parents without using the mobile device management system.
However, what many feel Apple is doing here is basically eliminating the competition for its own Screen Time feature which it launched with iOS 12. These apps were taken down not too long after Apple’s own time management feature arrived. However, given that Screen Time is integrated fairly significantly into iOS, it’s not like Apple has a major incentive to push its own Screen Time tool over third-party apps.
“We will continue to provide features, like ScreenTime, designed to help parents manage their children’s access to technology and we will work with developers to offer many great apps on the App Store for these uses, using technologies that are safe and private for us and our children,” Schiller adds in the email.
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