Apple may have shifted its policy about adblock applications on its App Store.
According to Tomasz Koperski, an iOS developer, Apple has reversed its policy on VPN-based adblock apps. These apps install certificates on the devices to prevent ads in Safari and other third-party apps from showing up.
When Koperski, who’s the CTO of future mind, submitted an update for the AdBlock for iOS, the update was rejected. After appealing to the App Review Board, Apple told him that the company no longer allows VPN-based ad blockers on its App Store. As a result, it will cease to accept any updates of ad blockers.
Apple stated that the AdBlock app of Future Mind violates a section of App Store Review Guidelines. That is, the apps must be unique and app-like. Furthermore, the said app violated App Store’s 4.2.1 section that states:
“Apps should use APIs and frameworks for their intended purposes and indicate that integration in their app description. For example, the HomeKit framework should provide home automation services; and HealthKit should be used for health and fitness purposes and integrate with the Health app.”
Apple told Future Mind that its app’s update was declined because it uses a root certificate in blocking ads, which isn’t allowed. The company added that the only ad blocker it would support is the Safari content blocker.
Future MInd’s ad blocking products have been around for the past five years. AdBlock was launched in 2014. It was the first VPN-based ad blocking app to block ads in every app.
Unfortunately, Apple didn’t explain why it has changed its policy that has been around for many years. Many apps on App Store, including the Apple News, have ads for monetization purposes.
App Store has undertaken a major overhaul. It started to eliminate those clone apps and old apps. That said, the changes in the policy may be a part of the overhaul. According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, App Store is getting significant changes since 2015.
Apple told Future Mind that its app, the AdBlock, could be updated if it uses the Safari Content Blocker. However, it’s worried that it might upset its customers, who purchased the app to block ads when using Safari and other apps on their iOS device.
Future Mind hasn’t decided yet on the next step it’ll take. It’s thinking about some possible choices. It could choose to leave it as is or expand its functionality in a VPN service. If it wanted to push its updates, it has to switch to a Safari-only blocker.
With the new policy, the only ad blocking apps accepted are those that utilize Safari Content Blocker. That is, it can only block ads in Safari and not all apps.
Although it has changed its policy, App Store hasn’t eliminated those offending apps yet. But the company states that those apps could no longer be updated. It’s not clear yet if these apps will remain on the Store.
Apple hasn’t released explanation yet of the changes in its policy.