Responding to an article in the New York Times which was published over the weekend, Apple has hit back at claims that it’s trying to kill competition in the parental control app sector claiming that these apps were using invasive technology called Mobile Device Management (MDM) and had been given notice to update their apps before they were pulled.
According to Apple, several apps were using MDM which is supposed to be used by businesses to better control proprietary data on hardware they hand out to employees. MDM gives third-party access to sensitive information such as location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history. It has been against Apple's guidelines since mid-2017 to use MDM for these non-business purposes.
In its statement, Apple said:
“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 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.”
In the New York Times article, one of the companies claimed that it hadn’t received a warning from Apple before the app was yanked from the store. Apple, however, says that it told app developers about the violations and granted them 30 days to fix the issue and submit an updated app to avoid availability interruption. Some of the developers did release updates but some did not, the latter group saw their apps pulled from the app store.