Porn, gambling apps abuse Apple’s developer program to sneak onto iPhones

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Apple Developer Enterprise Program
Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program can be misused to distribute iPhone software that violates the company’s community guidelines.
Photo: Apple

It turns out Facebook and Google aren‘t the only companies misusing the system Apple created to allow companies to share internal iOS apps with their workers. Software with hardcore pornography and  gambling have been distributed to the public via the Developer Enterprise Program.

This program gives subscribers “everything you need to start distributing proprietary in-house apps to your employees.” Because these applications are meant for internal use only, they don’t have to meet Apple’s App Store guidelines which block material that’s not family friendly.

Abusing the Apple Developer Enterprise Program

But some companies violate their agreement with Apple to use the Developer Enterprise Program to release to the public software that doesn’t conform to Apple’s guidelines.

Facebook and Google were caught doing so last month with software that didn’t meet Apple’s rules on user privacy.  And now TechCrunch has found numerous apps that use the program to release porn and gambling apps, both of which violate Apple’s rules for iPhone software.

Until now, it appears Apple has used the honor system with companies joining the Developer Enterprise Program. It’s open to anyone willing to pay $299 per year who’ll give a promise that their apps are for internal use only. There doesn’t seem to be much oversight.

That’s likely to change now that accusations of widespread abuse have been leveled.