Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Tech | By Constance Martin

First Facebook, now Google’s internal iOS apps are blocked by Apple

First Facebook, now Google’s internal iOS apps are blocked by Apple

And they could not see what the company's cafeterias were serving for lunch.

As it did to Facebook earlier this week, Apple has now revoked a certificate that allows Google to run pre-production and internal iOS apps.

Google was flagged over an iOS app called Screenwise Meter through which the company was able to monitor the Internet use and data of participants in exchange for gift cards.

Google and Facebook rely on enterprise certificates to test the iPhone versions of the apps they are making. Facebook lost access to the same tool Wednesday, but had it restored Thursday. The latter was somewhat proactive, pulling the app itself before Apple could react.

"After Apple's revocation, employees inside Facebook became furious with the Onavo team, according to four people familiar with the company's deliberations", the report read. (One can not help but wondering how many employees in Google, which controls Android and releases its own Pixel smartphones, are using iPhone as their primary devices.) The tone from Apple, however, was much reconciliatory.

Business Insider obtained a leaked memo from Facebook executive Pedro Canahuati, which offers more detail on Apple's power over the social media giant. And Apple has made changes to some of its tech features that limit the ability of Facebook and others to track users. Then it was discovered that Google was doing much the same thing as Facebook, and Apple revoked Google's certificates as well. "To be clear, this didn't have an impact on our consumer-facing services".

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The rule above would be caught in a paradox in cases where the "core functionality" of an app is to gather detailed user data and is explicit with it. We've also contacted Apple for a statement on the matter.

Facebook seems to have already negotiated to restore their certificate and reactivate their internal app library.

The program is intended for enterprise customers to test and deploy iOS apps among employees without using the iOS App Store.

Google and Facebook employees can once again use private iOS apps after Apple reinstated the necessary enterprise certificates.

With this shutdown, early versions of Facebook's apps and other beta versions stopped working including one for transportation. It clearly was after Techcrunch first reported about it. In Google's statement, the company admits that there has been "a temporary disruption", seemingly confirming the rumor is true. He declined to comment on whether Apple had revoked Google's access or if it was a technical glitch. Apple has previously launched educational privacy measures - user alerts within Safari about data tracking or Time Spent measures on iPhones, for example.

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