Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices

Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices

Enterprise developer kits for iOS allow apps to be created that go far beyond the remit of regular programmes on the App Store on the strict understanding that they're for internal company use only. Unlike Facebook that has tons of employees on iOS, Google at least employs plenty of users of its own Android platform, so the disruption may have caused fewer problems in Mountain View than Menlo park.

Apple issued a brief statement to press explaining that it was working with both Google and Apple to reinstate their enterprise certificates, presumably on the understanding that neither company would continue to use them to distribute public applications.

This time, however, it sounds like Apple didn't need its bouncers to show Google to the door.

Google has since disabled the app and apologized to users following the backlash.

The immediate result of this was the revoking of enterprise certificates which also crippled its employee-only apps. It's unclear how this will impact that deal when renewal discussions begin.

The row has been seen as a major escalation between Apple and its major rivals over protecting user data. A person with knowledge of the situation spoke with The Verge and told them that beta versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and others could no longer be accessed. Regarding TechCrunch's original story, Facebook said: "Key facts about this market research program are being ignored ..."

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Update 31/01/2019 6:04pm ET: According to a tweet from New York Times reporter Mike Isaac, Apple has restored Facebook's enterprise developer certificate.

In 2013, Facebook acquired Onavo, an Israeli company that collected information on how customers used every app on their phones.

Canahuati made no mention of the fact that the "Facebook Research" app was found to be suspiciously similar to Onavo, the Facebook-owned VPN app Apple yanked a year ago for similarly concerning privacy violations. After it was revealed that both Google and Facebook were violating the Cupertino firm's developer rules, both companies had access to their internal iOS apps temporarily revoked. Apple came up with a response and said that Facebook engineers use them for testing beta versions of apps.

This particular app is called "Screenwise Meter", and it invites users from the age of 18 and up to participate.

FOLLOW on Twitter for all the latest app news. Regardless, both apps ran afoul of Apple's policies. It is now punishing Google, too. To install the application, eligible users had to "sideload" it from a Facebook site and then install an enterprise developer certificate.

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