Apple Agrees to Offer Government-Approved Pre-Installed Apps for Devices in Russia

Bill Mount

Apple has reportedly agreed to show users a prompt when first setting up a device in Russia to pre-install government-approved apps, in compliance with a new law from the Ministry of Digital Affairs, according to a report from Vedomosti. According to the report, citing a source within the Ministry, Apple […]

Apple has reportedly agreed to show users a prompt when first setting up a device in Russia to pre-install government-approved apps, in compliance with a new law from the Ministry of Digital Affairs, according to a report from Vedomosti.

According to the report, citing a source within the Ministry, Apple struck a deal with the government that will show users a prompt when first configuring a device in Russia to pre-install apps from a list of government-approved software. Users will have the ability to decline the installation of certain apps.

The new legislation is an amendment to the existing “On Consumer Protection” law that will require the pre-installation of software on all devices sold in Russia, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs. The pre-installed software will include antivirus and cartographic apps, social media apps, and “Public Service” apps for payments and civil services.

Apple told Vedomosti that beginning on April 1, “users will be offered a choice of applications from Russian developers, which they will be able to choose for further installation on their iPhone or iPad.” Furthermore, Apple is reportedly discussing adding a new section to the App Store in Russia specifically dedicated to promoting Russian apps.

The Ministry of Digital Affairs assures that it is not seeking to create a dominant position for itself on the list of pre-installed apps. In fact, the Ministry says that if there are other apps on the market, they should be added to the list for users to pre-install.

The Ministry is not interested in the fact that popular programs included in the list for mandatory pre-installation occupy a dominant position. If there are alternative offers of interest to users and rapidly gaining popularity on the market, they will be included in this collection and will also be offered for pre-installation.

In 2019, Apple warned that this new law would open up its device to possible risks and that it would be the “equivalent to jailbreaking.” Apple maintains tight control over the pre-installation of apps on its devices and strict moderation over apps allowed onto the ‌App Store‌, so the expected change is unusual.

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