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Apple sets clearer rules for coronavirus-related apps

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple has been cracking down on coronavirus-related apps for days, but now it's clarifying just what it will accept on the App Store. The tech giant has posted an update clarifying its rules for COVID-19 app submissions, and they're unsurprisingly strict. The developers presenting apps should be "recognized entities" like government bodies, institutions (educational and medical), health-focused non-governmental organizations and companies "deeply-credentialed" in health. Apple will outright reject any entertainment apps themed around COVID-19.

The company is also encouraging developers to mark their coronavirus apps as time-sensitive to ensure a timely release. Governments, non-profits and accredited schools don't have to pay annual developer membership fees if they only intend to release free apps, Apple noted.

Apple isn't alone in keeping an eye out for harmful apps. Google recently said its existing Play Store policies forbid exploitative and misleading releases. However, Apple's approach is considerably more targeted. It wants to eliminate the potential for bogus coronavirus apps where possible, even if that means dismissing apps from some well-meaning creators.