Apple reportedly shifts App Store policy to stop adblockers outside of Safari

Apple reportedly shifts App Store policy to stop adblockers outside of Safari

Apple has seemingly recently shifted its policy regarding adblock apps on the App Store. The company, according to the developer of several major adblock apps that reached out to 9to5Mac after its app updates were rejected, has reversed its policy on VPN-based adblock applications, which install certificates on the device itself to block advertisements both in Safari and in other third-party applications.

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The developer behind popular apps like Adblock and Weblock explains that Apple has stopped accepting updates to the applications on the grounds that they violate point 4.2 of the App Store Developer Guidelines. This requirement says that apps should be useful, unique, and provide some sort of value:

Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website. If your app is not particularly useful, unique, or “app-like,” it doesn’t belong on the App Store. If your App doesn’t provide some sort of lasting entertainment value, or is just plain creepy, it may not be accepted.

It seems that the policy change is specifically based on section 4.2.1, which says that APIs and frameworks should be used for their intended purposes. It’s likely that Apple doesn’t see adblocking as the “intended purpose” of VPN certificates:

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.

Adblock and Weblock…

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