Apple has been quietly killing off Screen Time competitors

Apple has been quietly killing off Screen Time competitors
Apple has a history of what some may call anti-competitive practices. There have been cases in the past where Apple has brought a new feature to iOS that was basically the same as what users could get from various apps already on the platform. The consequences for those existing apps have always been troublesome, ranging from users naturally leaving for the native iOS option or Apple actively killing off those apps.

Now, it appears as though Apple is at it again and this time with apps designed to limit screen time or enforce parental controls. According to a new report, Apple began removing or restricting apps soon after announcing Screen Time, Downtime, and App Control features that were first brought to iOS 12. Since then, Apple has taken action against 11 of the top 17 apps in those categories and an unknown number of smaller apps with similar features. Some of the app makers had apps pulled from the App Store without warning and some that included parental control features were told they violated guidelines against allowing apps to control other devices, even though the apps had hundreds of versions approved in the past and had been in the App Store for years. 

As a result, many developers have been forced to remove features from apps and users have been forced to try finding alternatives or use Apple's native options. However, those interviewed by the New York Times said Apple's native features often were more complicated to set up and didn't offer the same level of control as 3rd party apps had. Apple's options don't allow as granular options for limiting app usage and its parental controls are easy for kids to get around. 

Apple has been taken to court before for anti-competitive practices in the App Store and there is even a case pending with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming Apple's App Store control represents a monopoly. It's hard to say if anything will change though. 

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47 Comments

1. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3089; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

It's Apple's house and you play by Apple's rules. I know of no other industry where users complain more about wanting to do whatever they want as the smartphone industry. Granted, few industries have duopolies like this one but that's another case where the users shot themselves in the foot by not supporting the competition and following the herd. You buy a car and you get what the manufacturer offers. You can't go to a Honda dealership and ask to have a Toyota engine installed. You buy a refrigerator and take what they give you and so forth. If Apple wants their product to look and behave a certain way it's their right. You don't have to like it, there's always a Google offering. Speaking of Google, their hands are just as dirty. They kept Microsoft's phone OS from flourishing by not allowing Google Services on Windows Phone. People didn't want to be bothered with this practice and now there's only 2 choices - the Hatfields or the McCoys. Enjoy the ride.

2. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1161; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

What an absolutely moronic view on the situation. So you think it's just okay for a company to basically copy what other third party developers had made, before they themselves decided to offer similar functionality and to then eliminate those third party apps from competing against their own new apps. That does constitute a gross misuse of power and if that is how Apple uses its App Store, as a tool for appropriating great functionality without any original development of their own, they deserve to have control taken away from them. By the way, the comparison you make with Google not offering their apps/services on Windows Phone is ridiculously skewed and doesn't in any way compare to this situation. Microsoft had the option of getting Google to play nice with Windows Phone and it would've involved Microsoft playing nice with patents on certain technologies that Google has to pay a lot of money for, but Microsoft didn't make that move either. In the end the death of Windows Phone falls solely on Microsoft.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17093; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's certainly not the first time they've stolen an idea from the app store, then banned the originator.

9. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I use other people's ideas and I make money out of them; I do it, because ideas mean nothing, the only thing that matters is getting a product to the customer.

10. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1161; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

If that's your defense if you ever get sued over using other people's ideas, you don't stand a chance. I think it's all too right that certain developers that can afford to fight back, sue Apple over their unfair practices.

14. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

:))) You live in a bubble, if you think anyone gives a f**k about getting sued for an idea that is not copyrighted or implemented in a product.

40. oldskool50

Posts: 503; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

You don't need to afford to fight apple if you are 100% right in the fact Apple stole something from you. You just need ot file your case in a court that is unbiased in their rulings. Which means if you do it in California, you can forget it. But in Texas it's a different story.

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 1913; Member since: May 04, 2015

Apple "innovation" in full effect. I see Leo is already spouting his garbage defending their sleazy behavior.

37. lyndon420

Posts: 6452; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Ms bullying OEM's for Android licensing fees (or face court action) I'm thinking is the sole reason for Google playing hard ball. And we can't blame them because why should ms get credit for other people's hard work.

42. oldskool50

Posts: 503; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

What? Android uses Microsoft's FAT and EXFAT file system. Microosft made those and they are avalable ot license. Android uses this technology. Do you think they aren't suppose to pay for it? It is amazing how you people, who have never programmed an application of platform in your life, have nerve to claim someone who did make it have zero right to charge for it. Have you ever seen the patents MS used on Android OEM's? Microsoft didn't bully them. They just told them flat out. Android uses out technology and is unlicensed by Google. Google licensed the ability for android to use FAT and EXFAT. But that doesn't cover the other OEM's using it in their phones. MS says pay or be sued. They offered very nice deals to license the tech. MS did not make it difficult for Google to bring its applications to Windows Phone. But you gotta pay for someone else's tech. You shouldn't have any issue with that. Apple just stills it. You should have issue with that.

38. oldskool50

Posts: 503; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

The only morons, are people who ignore actual facts for fanboyism. What he said was spot on even if you don't agree.

39. oldskool50

Posts: 503; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

he never said its ok. But no one is stopping Apple from doing it. But its funny how the courts were all over companies like Intel, Microsoft and even google for the practice. But so far Apple has had free reign. Apple has stolen so much from devs of its own platform.

5. tedkord

Posts: 17093; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

What other industries have one competitor which is open and nearly limitless, and another that is closed and very limited? Or, where after you've purchased the product, functionality can be removed by the manufacturer at their whim without consulting the purchaser? Of course consumers are going to complain when that happens and they see it not happening on competing brands. Is not Apple's house. They're playing in each individual country's house, and need to avoid by the laws of that house. This could very easily be afoul of competition laws.

34. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3089; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

PCs (and Macs) add and remove features all the time. You buy the device but the OS is licensed, read the TOS sometime.

24. Zylam

Posts: 1802; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Fully agree bro, don't worry about the insecure Android/Samsung fanbois LOL, always the same story with them. Google and Samsung are no saints.

44. oldskool50

Posts: 503; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

and no one ever has said they were. But Samsung has not been accused of stealing developers works though. Apple has. In fact the first recorded one I am aware of, was Apple stole wireless sync from Greg Hughes. He submitted his App to Apple and Apple rejected it. So he made it available in Cydia. Apple on the very next release of iOS, which was iOS 5, introduced wireless sync for iOS, which not only stole the capability, they even ripped off his icon and simply changed the color. Has Sasung or Google ever stolen from someone? Yes I am quite positive they have. The problem is, you won't speak against Apple, but you're so quick to bring up someone else. This article is about Apple. How many times have we seen you talk about how in apple articles everyone brings up Samsung or Google/Android and look here you are doing the very thing. The next time you decide to lie and claim you NEVER do such, remember this post. Gosh! Hypocritical fanboys are the disdain and disgusting filth of any technology.

27. Vancetastic

Posts: 746; Member since: May 17, 2017

Once you buy that Honda, they can’t stop you from changing the engine...

35. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3089; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You lose your warranty but you run into other issues. The PCM may not interface properly affecting other systems like your A/C, cruise control and even your lights.

4. Subie

Posts: 2273; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

This kind of reminds me of when Microsoft designed and then put Internet Explorer right into their Windows OS. This essentially killed off Netscape Navigator - which at the time was a FANTASTIC web browser. There was a lot of talk about monopoly and control at that time too...

12. Plutonium239

Posts: 1144; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Except Microsoft did not prevent people from getting, installing and using Netscape instead of IE.

13. Subie

Posts: 2273; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Yup, I know there are differences. I never said it was an exact comparison. I said that it "reminds me" of a past situation.

8. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Apple only pulls out the apps that charge for features that are free on iOS; make the app free and you'll be able to keep it in the app store for as much as you like. PS: patent your ideea and Apple is going to either pay you a license or bid on your company.

16. Charlie2k

Posts: 109; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

Like they did with Qualcomm.. Haha. Pay nothing - and still use their products.

20. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I didn't know that Qualcomm is s developer...

19. tedkord

Posts: 17093; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Or, more likely based on their history, they'll simply steal your idea, refuse to pay and drag it out in court for a decade until you're bankrupt.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

What happened to you that made you spread lies and hate in Apple related articles?

22. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1161; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Not lies but facts. Apple has done it several times before. It's just an inconvenient truth for you.

25. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Can you provide such a fact (and what court refused to decide until the plaintiff filed for bankruptcy)?

18. Eclectech

Posts: 338; Member since: May 01, 2013

I know none of these companies have clean hands, but some of the things Apple has done truly gives me pause. Everytime I think about buying one of their products I remind myself how much of a bully they truly are.

29. Vancetastic

Posts: 746; Member since: May 17, 2017

I don’t know exactly how I feel about this. While not illegal, it seems like a dick move. I’m not a fan. (I’m also not an “insecure Android fanboi”...I have all-Apple stuff)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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