Apple has reversed the course of its ban on the application of parental control OurPact, allowing the expulsed software to return to the App Store in its original form and without limitations or restrictions. The move marks the end of a month-long dispute between Apple and a variety of parental control companies affected by Apple's restrictions.
The fact that Apple eliminated or prevented updates to many of these applications (including OurPact) caused suspicion because it was supposedly due to a sudden change in the policy that reclassified the applications as insecure, due to the technology they trusted to handle children devices The problem was that these applications used a set of tools called MDM, or management of multiple devices, designed for the administration of hardware in school and IT environments. It was still allowed in the App Store in a variety of enterprise-level applications after the change of Apple's rule, despite using the exact same technology and apparently putting its users at the same presumed risk.
Things got worse just before Apple's annual WWDC developer meeting, after a story in The New York Times that highlighted application developers from parental control affected. The report said Apple's bans seemed to coincide with its own release of the Screen Time parental control tool built into iOS 12, suggesting that Apple's motives included self-interest.
In response, Apple took the unusual step of publishing a letter from Phil Schiller, its former director of global marketing, explaining that applications "put users' privacy and security at risk," and therefore had to be eliminated. A group of parental control application developers (including OurPact) came together to demand an Apple API so that their applications would work within the new limits of iOS, if they were prevented from using existing MDM tools permanently.
However, in another twist, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines during WWDC to allow parental control applications using MDM (and VPN tools), apparently in response to the controversy. And now, with OurPact, the most publicly affected application, officially back in the store, it seems that everything finally ended.
Even so, even with this controversy over, it's a good reminder of what's next. the total power that Apple exercises over the App Store and the applications allowed or not allowed. Even if this particular incident seems to have been resolved, given the nature of Apple's strict control, this is probably not the last time this kind of controversy arises.