Why Apple Suddenly Removed Telegram from the App Store

The iPhone maker has cracked down.

Apps de mensajería

Apple removed Telegram from the iOS App Store on Wednesday, only to restore it hours later. The encrypted messaging app, downloaded by more than half a million users every day, was taken off after reports of content that violated Apple’s guidelines.

“We were alerted by Apple that inappropriate content was made available to our users and both apps were taken off the App Store,” Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram, stated on his Twitter page Thursday. “Once we have protections in place we expect the apps to be back on the App Store.”

The app was removed at around 7 p.m Eastern time on Wednesday. Apple also removed Telegram X, an offshoot announced on Wednesday designed with an entirely new code base to improve speed, ease of use, and animation quality.

Apple’s guidelines, as noted by TechCrunch, give insight into why the app may have been removed. The company rules state that apps with user-generated content must take extra steps to avoid displaying upsetting or offensive content. These include a method for filtering material, a way to report content, the ability to block users, and an easy way to contact the developers.

Telegram with a number of other apps.
Telegram with a number of other apps.

It’s not the first time Apple has removed an app from the store without warning. In the early days of the App Store, which launched in 2008 with the release of iPhone OS 2.0, Apple had far stricter guidelines about what was and wasn’t acceptable, even removing apps because they replicated built-in functionality.

In 2009, the Google Voice app was rejected from the App Store, which longtime blogger John Gruber claimed was because AT&T objected to the app’s listing. The same year, the company also banned the Nine Inch Nails app from the store for objectionable content, which led to public criticism from frontman Trent Reznor.

Nowadays it’s less common to hear that Apple has rejected or removed an app, although it does happen from time-to-time. In 2016, the company removed the Vigilante app, which encouraged users to fight crime in real life.

In China, Apple has also removed a number of virtual private network apps used to view websites banned in the country.