Apple has started cracking down on yet another type of application in China. Following the earlier removal of VPN apps, the company is now removing applications that use the CallKit framework. The move comes in response to newly enforced regulation from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, according to a message obtained by 9to5Mac…
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
Apple has started sending notices to developers who offer apps in China with CallKit integration. The notice explains that apps cannot offer CallKit functionality in China due to government regulations. In order for developers to make their application available on the China App Store, they must remove that CallKit integration. Alternatively, they can remove the application from China altogether.
This crack down appears to have been a long time coming. Popular communication app WeChat briefly supported CallKit integration, though the feature was later removed.
Apple’s App Store has had several issues in China throughout recent years. Last summer, Apple was forced to remove VPN applications from the App Store in China in order to comply with local laws. That move was met with criticism from users, as well as a handful of U.S. lawmakers who criticized the company for conforming so quickly to a request from the Chinese government.
On a broader scale, Apple has been removing applications in China at a much faster pace than normal, according to a study last year.
CallKit was introduced in iOS 10 as a way for developers to integrate calling services with other call-related applications. Here’s how the company describes the framework:
CallKit lets you integrate your calling services with other call-related apps on the system. CallKit provides the calling interface, and you handle the back-end communication with your VoIP service. For incoming and outgoing calls, CallKit displays the same interfaces as the Phone app, giving your app a more native look and feel. And CallKit responds appropriately to system-level behaviors such as Do Not Disturb.
The Chinese government likely takes issue with the VoIP functionalities of CallKit. Such services are frowned upon in the country. Apple removed the Skype application last summer for a similar reason.
However, Apple’s crackdown this time around seems to be blankety related to CallKit, as even applications that use the functionality to pause audio for an incoming call have been removed.