For whatever the reasons, mainstream media outlets in the U.S. are cluttered each day with trivial pursuits ad nauseam. Yes, Trump has troubles. Yes, stalking teenage girls is bad, sexual misconduct should be stopped. No, Apple is not about to go under any time soon. What we don’t read about often are the abuses that take place elsewhere in the world.
Sure, the F.B.I. wants Apple to unlock a few hundred iPhones once owned by criminals. I get that, but having a backdoor for a few criminals means 1-billion users are less safe from governments, hackers, and criminals. The U.S. government can’t even keep its own secrets.
Apple has a problem in various countries that are important to the company’s financial well being and so far, our favorite iPhone maker is caving into the growing signs of the times.
We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China
No Skype for you in China. Why? Skype is a terrible weapon in the hands of citizens because they are the ones who vote leaders into and out of office and China, Russia, and other authoritarian nations can’t handle citizens with a little knowledge. Look what little knowledge did to the most recent U.S. general election.
While China has long wielded the most sophisticated and comprehensive internet controls in the world, under President Xi Jinping it has upped the ante, squelching most major foreign social networks and messaging apps one at a time.
Mac and Windows users in China, Russia, and elsewhere have options. There are App Stores where users can buy and download apps, but, as with the iOS App Store example in China, certain apps can be blocked– but they can also be obtained elsewhere and are easily shared.
Except on the iPhone.
Yes, there are ways. iPhones can be jailbroken to install almost any application. iPhones can install what are called sideloading applications that bypass the various App Stores. This is a common practice for putting third party applications onto Android smartphones.
No, I’m not advocating jailbreaking iPhones or sideloading apps onto iPhones, but I am advocating that Apple come up with another way for users in countries where such apps are banned to be able to obtain apps for installation which bypass the App Store and totalitarian regulators.
On the Mac, we can only install apps from certified developers– third party or App Store– but there is a way to change access to include non-certified apps. System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General > Allow Apps Downloaded From…
That works. Yes, it’s fraught with potential peril, but how else would a Chinese iPhone user get Skype on their phones? Apple doesn’t need a better way. It needs another way.