Apple has seemingly decided to crack down on antivirus and antimalware apps, removing them from the App Store. Although there has been no official statement from Apple on a policy change, Apple’s loose guidelines allow them to pull pretty much anything at any time, particularly something like antivirus which has questionable utility within the sandboxed iOS environment of iPhones and iPads.
One casualty of the removal is Intego’s VirusBarrier, which claims that this takedown was not specific to its product with Apple deciding the entire category of antivirus products is now off-limits.
Searching for ‘antivirus’ in the App Store still returns many results. However, under inspection, all of the related apps we checked were not actually anti-virus products. Instead they were either games or apps replicating ‘Find My iPhone’ features under the branding of ‘mobile security’.
Obviously, App Store search is not the most comprehensive test … but some number of antivirus apps have definitely been culled, if not all. For example, ‘Anti-Virus Detective’ is no longer available although it is unclear exactly when this year the app was removed; the app was last listed in December. A number of other previously available apps with a similar description are no longer available either.
9to5Mac has reached out to Apple for comment to clarify the situation.