Apple Will Reject COVID-19 Apps That Are Not From Recognized Entities

Covid-19 Pandemic

Apple has announced that it is “evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.”

It doesn’t come as a surprise. Shortly after we had published the best apps to track the COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed that most of the apps were removed from the App Store. We had also reported that Apple was cracking down on COVID-19 and coronavirus related apps on the App Store. 

Apple has also clarified that “Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed”. Apple had recently removed the popular iPhone by Plague Inc from the App Store in China, which simulated how coronavirus will spread across the world.

Please find Apple’s full announcement below:

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

To help fulfill these expectations, we’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed.

We understand the need to get these apps into the hands of customers as soon as possible. We encourage developers that meet this criteria to select “Time-Sensitive Event” on the expedite request form to ensure prioritized review since App Store review may take longer.

If you are developing an app on behalf of a client, please advise your client to add you to the development team of their Apple Developer account. If your client does not yet have an Apple Developer account, they can enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities that plan to distribute only free apps on the App Store can request to have their annual membership fee waived, if based in an eligible country.

I think it is a good decision to only allow COVID-19 apps from reputed organizations as we don’t need misinformation or fake news during this crisis.

It is important for companies like Apple to take the lead and show the corporate world how to deal with this pandemic. So it is good to see that Apple has taken a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a look at the timeline of Apple’s COVID-19 response so far.

On March 13, Apple announced that they will be matching their employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally. Back in January, Apple had announced that it will donate to coronavirus relief efforts in China. Donations have reached $15 million worldwide so far.

On March 13, Apple announced that it is closing all retail stores outside of China until March 27th.

On March 12, Apple announced that it will hold one of its biggest event of the year, WWDC 2020, only online. It has also pledged to donate $1 million to local San Jose organizations to offset the associated revenue loss as a result of ‌WWDC 2020‌’s online format.

On March 9, Apple has updated the support article to clarify that it is okay to use disinfecting wipes to clean its products.

On March 6, Apple also pledged that it will continue to pay its hourly workers. It will also provide unlimited paid leave to hourly employees, including those at its retail stores, who become sick with cold or flu symptoms similar to COVID-19.

On February 17, Apple announced that it did not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to COVID-19 outbreak.

As this article explains the containment and mitigation strategies, it is important that business leaders take action now to reduce density and maximize social distance to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission.

What do you think about Apple’s decision to only allow apps from recognized entities? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.