Apple Blocks ProtonVPN Updates Over App Messaging

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ProtonVPN announced in a blog post that Apple has blocked its app updates, saying this harms users in countries like Myanmar.

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Calling Apple’s actions “insensitive” ProtonVPN says that Apple blocked its updates due to certain messaging used within the app. The email from the App Store Review team says (emphasis added):

Regarding compliance with the 5.4 guideline, specifically, the following information is referenced in your app description:

Whether it is challenging governments, educating the public, or training journalists, we have a long history of helping bring online freedom to more people around the world.

To resolve this issue, please ensure the app is not presented in such a way that it encourages users to bypass geo-restrictions or content limitations.

The company says this description has been in use for months and only recently came to Apple’s attention. The email was from March 18, and ProtonVPN released an update two days ago according to its app page. The phrase “challenging governments” has been removed.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Andrew:   Looks like ProtonVPN just dodged becoming a NeutronVPN. Agree with @geoduck. Good move on their part.    Regarding VPNs, yours truly has yet to bite the bullet. Because of the nature of our work, my profession and our employers/networks have become prime targets of state-sponsored cyber intelligence. My colleagues and I, for example, are regularly spear-fished with offers to attend bogus conferences (submit your abstract, why don’t you?), join various editorial boards or submit publications to suspicious journals with almost legit sounding names (send us your latest manuscripts on vaccine – related studies), so there is that obvious bit,… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

I should have added, just for laughs, I’m going to take a stab at building my own VPN Will let you know how it turns out. Fortunately, this is not something I truly have to rely on.


ProtonMail is being an idiot and Apple is saving them. That phrasing will get the app banned in nearly a third of the countries in the world. They should stop whining and just change a couple of words.