Apple has begun purging the App Store of third-party utilities that block ads and provide VPN connections. The company says that they do not comply with its Developer Guidelines due to the way in which they interfere with other iOS apps.
Apple allows ad-blockers and VPN clients in the App Store, and many are still available following its cull. However, it does not allow ad-blocking and VPN services that are designed to remove advertisements inside other iOS apps.
Rather than taking advantage of Safari’s own ad-blocking feature, they install certificates on an iOS device to act as a VPN, then block connections that are used to display ads inside other apps. Apple does not approve of titles that interfere with other apps in this manner.
“This is not a new guideline. We have never allowed apps on the App Store that are designed to interfere with the performance or capabilities of other apps,” the company told to 9to5Mac. It plans to continue removing similar titles that “may have snuck on to the App Store.”
“We have always supported advertising as one of the many ways that developers can make money with apps,” Apple added.
In section 4.2.1 of its Developer Guidelines, Apple states that apps should only use frameworks and APIs for their intended purpose.
“For example, the HomeKit framework should provide home automation services; and HealthKit should be used for health and fitness purposes and integrate with the Health app,” it reads.
Apple clearly does not see the use of certificates to block ad connections as an intended purpose. Guilty apps are being removed from the App Store, and the company is rejecting new updates to them. It seems only ad-blockers that are integrated into Safari are accepted.