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).
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.