Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining on its Devices
During the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018 conference held last week in San Jose, California, Apple, one of the best-known companies in the world, published new restrictions for users of their devices. These new restrictions include the prohibition of mining cryptocurrencies using devices running iOS or macOS.
Apple’s new policies stipulate that:
“Apps, including third-party ads within them, will not be able to run back-end processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,”
This is from section 2.4.2 which covers hardware compatibility.
This is an attempt to deal with the issue of advertisements and other malicious apps that install software to mine cryptocurrencies on the computers of users in the background, without them noticing it. This is referred to as cryptojacking and slows down both the connection speed and computers of the users.
Although the company is trying to protect users from cryptojacking, it would also prevent those who voluntarily want to mine Bitcoin, for example, using their iPhones and iPads, from doing so. Cryptocurrency mining has become a popular and “easy” way to earn money. The only disadvantage is that it requires the use of GPUs or ASICs which have a lot of computing power but are very expensive.
It is for this reason that many crypto enthusiasts decide to use Apple devices because they also have fairly good computing power (at least the most current devices).
Among the most relevant rules from Apple related to the use of cryptocurrencies are the following:
- Mining: applications can not extract cryptocurrencies unless processing is performed outside the device (for example, cloud-based mining).
- Exchanges: applications can facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrencies in an approved exchange, as long as they are offered by the exchange itself.
- ICOs: applications that provide initial coin offerings (“ICO”), cryptocurrency futures transactions and other cryptocurrency transactions must come from established banks or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable laws.
This is not Apple’s First Time
In 2013 and 2014, Apple removed from their App Store, the Coinbase app, and other applications related to cryptocurrencies due to an “unresolved and nameless problem” in the App Store. The applications were, however, returned to the store at a later time. By the end of 2017, the Coinbase app was classified as the most popular application in the Apple store, becoming the #1 app available in the store.
One of the most recent cases in which users’ devices were used for mining cryptocurrencies was the Calendar 2 case. Calendar 2 is a programming application that aims to include more features than the Calendar application that Apple provides. During one of its updates, the application added the function of mining Monero in the background. which users could activate this function to access premium features instead of paying for them. This was clearly not a malicious app since it sought users’ permission.
Apple, however, removed the app from the App Store, after the company was accused by users of allowing cryptojacking on their devices. It is very likely that these events were the ones that led Apple to take these new measures. Whether good or bad, the new rules should prevent Apple from getting into similar problems in the future.
For more information about these new Apple rules, click on this link.