Apple removes apps that fight iPhone addiction from its store

By: |
New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2019 5:05:52 PM

Apple has full control over what to offer on its distribution platform App Store.

apple watch, apple iphone, apple india, apple iphone 6, apple store, apple parental control, apple parental control, iphone, apple parental controls screen timeA child holds an Apple iPhone 6S at an Apple store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The World Health Organization Wednesday, April 24, 2019, issued its first-ever guidance for how much screen time children under 5 should get: not very much, and none at all for those under 1. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File Sept. 25, 2015)

Apple has come down heavily on apps that limit user screen time on its devices. The iPhone maker has removed nearly 11 out of the 17 most downloaded parental-control and screen-time apps from its distribution platform App Store, The New York Times has reported.

The move is also being seen as Apple’s bid to push down third-party apps as it readies to go all out to promote its own screen-time tracker. Apple attempting to limit its own users might be a conflict of interest with their business growth.

Moreover, its screen-limiting tracker is also not very effective in combating addiction, executives at third party screen-time app makers were quoted saying in the NYT report.

“Their (Apple) incentives are not really aligned for helping people solve their problem,” said Fred Stutzman, Chief Executive of Freedom, a screen-time app, which was downloaded 7,70,000 times prior to Apple removing it in August 2018.

“Can you really trust that Apple wants people to spend less time on their phones?”

The third-party apps could be seen as roadblocks to Apple’s business growth and that’s why the app makers fear that they are being penalised for it.

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The iPhone maker removed OurPact in February, The New York Times report said on Saturday, adding that the screen time limiting app makers are now, essentially, at the mercy of the tech giant. Being the host of the platform, Apple has irrefutable power to have the future of the app makers in its hands as it has full control over the iPhone App Store.

The report said that the tech titan is cracking down on not just apps fighting phone addiction but also on top apps that aid parents in having control over how their kids are using iPhones.

Kidslox and Qustodio are two such apps, which filed a complaint with the European Union’s competition office last week.

Apple, however, defended the move saying that it removed them or wanted changes to be made to the apps as they could gain too much information about the user from the devices.

Tammy Levine, a spokeswoman from Apple, said that the firm treats all apps the same, “including those that compete with our own services.”

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