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Apple restricting apps around COVID-19 on the App Store

(Image credit: Future)

Apple has posted guidelines for developers working on apps that relate to COVID-19. Apple will only allow apps it considers that are from credible sources, which include government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.

Apple is recommending that only developers from one of these recognized entities submit an app related to COVID-19. Games or entertainment related apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed. According to Apple:

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

Further, Apple recommends that developers  use the "time-sensitive event” option on the expedite request form to ensure prioritized review when submitting a COVID-19 related app to the App Store.

The above doesn't come as a surprise, as Apple has always swayed towards an overly protective stance when it comes to dealing with controversial topics.