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Apple will abide by Russian law by offering government-approved apps

Kris Holt
·Contributing Writer
·1-min read
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 23, 2020: An iPhone 12 Pro is on display at a re:Store shop in Petrovka Street, as Apple launches iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro sales in Russia. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)

Apple has reportedly agreed to show Russian users a prompt to preinstall some apps when they're first using an iPhone or other device. If a user doesn’t select one of the government-approved apps, it won’t be installed, according to newspaper Vedomosti. The company is said to have agreed to the measure to abide by a law that comes into effect on April 1st.

The Russian-made apps include Mail.ru's email service, the MIR payment system, social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki and Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, according to RFE. Android users reportedly won’t get to opt out and all of the software will be preinstalled on those devices.

Vedomosti said Apple confirmed these plans to the newspaper. Engadget has contacted the company for more details.

The new rules will require all devices sold in Russia (including smartphones, PCs, tablets and smart TVs) to include preinstalled apps. The software includes social media services, public service apps for payments and civil service info and antivirus tools.

The official aim of the law is to support Russian developers and help citizens use their devices. However, some critics of the government suggest the apps could be used for surveillance.