by Brandon Butler
Apple allows Russian Government to pre-install apps on iPhones 3/16/2021

Apple will comply with a new law in Russia beginning next month that requires manufactorers to pre-install government approved apps on devices sold in the country.

The apps will be installed during the setup process, with the list of approved apps consisting of things like browsers, email, messaging, and antivirus — all from Russian developers (Russian devs are also required to share user data/server access with the Russian government).

Users will be allowed to delete any of the apps they don’t want, just like apps installed from the App Store, but there appears to be a provision in the law that can make some apps mandatory and those cannot be removed (I think, my Russian is a little rusty).

This law covers all types of devices, including phones, tablets, and computers. Apple had considered leaving Russia entirely — recall the original iPhone and Apple’s refusal to pre-install any AT&T crapware onto it — but according to Russian news site Vedomosti the company and government worked out a deal.

Expect to see more of this kind of law in the coming years from other authoritarian governments.