The App Store has no room for coronavirus apps.
So reports CNBC, which notes that Apple is rejecting apps related to the virus unless they were “submitted by a recognized institution.” What qualifies as a recognized institution isn’t exactly clear, but we imagine groups like the World Health Organization would be in the clear. The App Store developer guidelines make no mention of recognized institutions, either.
We reached out to Apple to confirm the report, but received no immediate response. The move by the tech giant appears to be aimed at countering misinformation related to the rapidly spreading virus. It’s unclear if any one app in particular sparked Apple’s crackdown, or if the company just wanted to get ahead of any potential bad actors.
A quick jaunt to the App Store shows loads of apps that come up after a “coronavirus” search. The first result is a paid ad and the second provides health notices from the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
Image: screenshot / app store
Ah, there it is.
Image: Screenshot / app store
The third non-paid app is a live wallpaper app; the fourth, what appears to be a game described as “infect vicious diseases.”
CNBC reports that at least one app developer has received written instructions from Apple making it clear that if their app included “information about current medical information,” then it needed to be submitted by those aforementioned recognized institutions.
Google Play, for its part, returned no “coronavirus” app search results at the time of this writing.
Image: screenshot / google play
It’s not clear if Apple plans to eventually release coronavirus-specific guidelines for app developers, but in the meantime, those with internet access looking for information on the virus are perhaps best served by heading straight to the World Health Organization’s coronavirus webpage.
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At the very least, they won’t run into any live wallpaper apps.