Earlier this year, Apple removed several apps from its store that were designed to help control what your kids were doing on their devices. The applications also monitored communications and screen time as well, which sounds a lot like the features Apple released with iOS 12 last year.
On the surface, it sounds like Apple is removing the apps as they duplicated functionality already provided by the OS. Apple has used this reasoning in the past to remove applications and once again, it looked like Apple was squashing competition in favor of its own features.
Following a bunch of stories from many publications about the removal of these apps, Apple put out a statement detailing why they are removing the content.
Their reasoning is that these applications were using features of iOS that were not designed to be used by consumer applications. Specifically, they were using the Mobile Device Management features, that do have real value for business customers, to control data for consumers.
Because these features were being utilized by a third-party, those companies could have been collecting unauthorized data from the users which is against Apple’s terms of service. Additionally, the users of these apps may not have known they were opening themselves up to potential privacy issues by using these applications.
Apple calls out a post this week by the New York Times that says that the removal of the apps was about competition whereas their viewpoint is that it’s about privacy. In that post, Kidslox and Qustodio stated their apps were removed without warning and that they have filed complaints with the EU.
No matter your stance on the subject, Apple owns the App store and if they don’t like what you are doing, there is very little you can do about it. If these companies were knowingly breaking the rules that Apple outlined, then the onus is on them, but if it is ever revealed this was about competition, then Apple will inevitably have to pay the piper.