Apple Updates App Store to Remove iPhone Antivirus Apps

Apple has updated its developer app review guidelines for the App Store, and says iPhone antivirus apps aren’t allowed anymore. Fake apps that claim to scan for viruses have been around for a while. But now Apple is banning them (via 9To5Mac).

Stock image of Apple virus. Antivirus apps have been removed from the App Store.

Fake Antivirus

The App Store Review Guidelines now includes the proviso:

Don’t include any hidden or undocumented features in your app; your app’s functionality should be clear to end-users and App Review. Similarly, you should not market your app on the App Store or offline as including content or services that it does not actually offer (e.g. iOS-based virus and malware scanners). Egregious or repeated behavior is grounds for removal from the Developer Program. We work hard to make the App Store a trustworthy ecosystem and expect our app developers to follow suit; if you’re dishonest, we don’t want to do business with you.

Apple cracked down on fake antivirus and anti-malware apps earlier this year, but this is the first time the company has explicitly added banning language in the guidelines. This is a good move for iOS users. Because Apple sandboxes apps from one another, it’s not even possible to scan for viruses. Apps can’t directly interact with one another or the operating system. The only thing these iPhone antivirus apps were good for was a demonstration of the placebo effect.

One thought on “Apple Updates App Store to Remove iPhone Antivirus Apps

  • This is an important piece of information, Andrew, as I’m sure you’re aware.

    I recall years ago seeing an advert from one of the antivirus vendors that service the Mac platform (not calling them out by name because they weren’t the only ones) that purported to be a complete package for both the macOS and iOS. Given the prevalence specifically of malware, some of which is purportedly pre-installed on the Android platform, such adverts have an appeal, until one stops to remember that apps on iOS are sandboxed. Not that I was tempted to make the purchase, but I recall my incredulity and thought, if anything, the antivirus software could compromise OS performance with no benefits.

    In any case, glad to see Apple having this discussion with developers.

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