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App Store Restrictions

WikiLeaks? Apple Adds App Store Restrictions on Developers

March 9, 2017

New App Store restrictions for developers have arrived.

Two recent developments suggest that Apple is getting more restrictive with the iOS app update process. The moves come just as the company continues to process the recently released WikiLeaks data dump that deals with the CIA and iOS devices.

Outside Groups, Beware

Apple doesn’t allow developers to use outside mechanisms to update App Store apps. Until now, however, Apple has tended to look the other way when developers have done so. Not anymore, according to AppleInsider.

Developers who have broken the rules are now receiving a notification from Apple asking them to remove the offending code before submitting their next app update. Apple cites two rules in the message, specifically, section 3.3.2 of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement and App Store Review Guideline 2.5.2.

The report explains, “Apple is starting to more uniformly enforce a restriction in place since the beginning of the App Store, and is notifying developers pro-actively that it will refuse approval to new apps or updates that include mechanisms to update or alter pre-approved app behavior outside the app store.”

Among the companies affected by Apple’s move is the popular iOS troubleshooting and update tool, In a blog post, the company says that Apple is interpreting the guidelines in a “more narrow way.”

They note:

We are disappointed that Apple has made this change before we have had an opportunity to address any concerns. We have already reached out to Apple to discuss and are committed to adjusting our offering as needed to remain in compliance under the more narrow interpretation of the guidelines.

It’s Getting Harder to Update App Descriptions

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac explains that developers are now noticing a “silent policy change” to iTunes Connect which affects the editing of app descriptions.

Before today, March 9, developers could edit descriptions, update notes or any other metadata for their apps without making a new version. These type of changes must now be sent to Apple for approval.

As 9to5Mac explains:

This means developers must now create a new app version, change the metadata, then submit that app for approval. They must then wait on App Review before the changes can go live.


Apple has yet to explain why they’re implementing these App Store restrictions, although AppleInsider has an idea. They note that the stricter enforcement rules came the same day as WikiLeaks released documents suggesting that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had developed and obtained exploits for iOS devices.

This explanation sounds about right, no?

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.