Apple has now banned cryptocurrency mining on their devices with the release of a new set of developer guideline updates.
The idea of virtual currencies has taken the world by storm, and in order to obtain said currencies we need to rely on the idea of cryptocurrency mining. This process uses a computer’s processing power in order to obtain fractions of the coins, and it consumes an incredible amount of power.
For many, the power drains end up leading to a higher electricity bill than the price of what they are mining, and it can also put a significant strain on the device.
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Apple’s concern appears to be the latter, as they have now banned cryptocurrency mining due to the power consumption and the potential of the process to put undue pressure on the devices.
The Apple Ban
The new language from Apple that bans cryptocurrency mining comes with the Apple App Store review guidelines that were revised recently ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple’s new rules specifically address the process of cryptocurrency mining, and outright ban the practice on many of their devices.
The new guidelines assert that apps are prohibited from running “unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.” Interestingly, this ban will also extend to third-party ads that are displayed between applications.
The section of the Apple guidelines that was updated gave more stringent regulations on the technology as well. For example, “apps may not directly mine for cryptocurrencies unless that mining is performed in the cloud or otherwise off-device.”
The main problem behind the apps that carry out cryptocurrency mining is that they will often do so covertly—leveraging device power unbeknownst to the user as they use the app for other reasons. These apps run rampant on the Google Play Store which is much less regulated than the Apple App store, and can sometimes even cause physical damage to a smartphone if the resources are overtaxed.
The updated Apple guidelines also state that cryptocurrency-related appscan no longer “offer currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps, encouraging other users to download, (or) posting to social media.”
It’s understandable that Apple would take a stance against cryptocurrency mining being carried out on their devices due to the strain it puts on the technology, but the banning of apps that offer cryptocurrency as a reward is a little more bizarre—almost seeming like Apple is taking a stand against cryptocurrency as a whole in relation to their products rather than the process of mining.
However, there are a few situations in which cryptocurrency practices may still be allowed. For example, apps can still “facilitate visual currency storage” as long as they are offered by developers that are part of an organization, and they can also facilitate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) if they are part of an established and approved financial institution.
All in all, this Apple ban on cryptocurrency mining seems to suggest that the company’s primary concern is to protect the integrity of their devices and protect against covert mining operations. The removal of this feature may disappoint some, but for the majority of users it will serve as an additional protection against apps that may utilize device power against their will.