Apple briefly blocked Google's internal apps as punishment for certificate misuse

Apple briefly blocked Google's internal apps as punishment for certificate misuse

Apple briefly blocked Google's internal apps as punishment for certificate misuse

Apple has pulled the plug on Google's ability to distribute internal iOS apps a day after the company did the same to Facebook.

Apple temporarily prevented Google from running its internal apps for employees on iPhones and iPads this week - a move similar to the one it took against Facebook.

Facebook Inc's app development was hobbled in a similar way for about 24 hours, a sign that Apple is flexing its muscle as the operator of the most lucrative U.S. app store to push its approach to user privacy. Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Those unaware of the enterprise certificate, it is basically software permission, that lets companies load internal mobile apps onto the smartphones of beta testers, research participants and employees.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone did not immediately respond to other questions.

Apple was quick to reprimand Facebook with the same action on Wednesday. Apple stipulates that apps for the public should be distributed through App Store. Onavo's findings helped Facebook executives predict which apps were rising and trending across App Stores.

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Developers of iOS apps have no way to distribute unvetted apps apart from releasing app code as open source so other iOS developers can build and install such projects on their own gear. It said that it is working with Apple to fix what it called a temporary disruption to some of its corporate iPhone apps, and said it expected the situation to be resolved soon. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. The iOS app for the service - which has since been disabled - relied on the Apple enterprise program which allows companies to create apps for use within that company (i.e., not available to the general public).

Google's app rewarded users with gift cards for letting the internet search giant company collect information on their internet usage. "We've been upfront with users about the way we use their data in the app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time".

That bit aside, though, this app does appear to violate Apple's policies in the same way that Facebook Research's VPN iOS app did.

Google and Facebook on Thursday confirmed to the media that Apple had reinstated their certificates, clearing them to use internal iOS apps once again. The company announced Thursday that that had happened.

Shortly after Google's apology, Apple followed through and revoked Google's enterprise certificate too.

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