Phil Schiller Lays Out Apple's Case for Cracking Down on Screen Time Monitoring Apps

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier today, a report from The New York Times highlighted Apple's removal of a number of App Store apps that had allowed users to monitor usage of their devices or those used by their children. The report suggests that Apple's move to pull the apps is related to having rolled out its own Screen Time feature in iOS 12 that competes in some ways with these apps, raising concerns over anticompetitive behavior.

    The report quotes several developers who had their apps removed, including one who says the removal came "out of the blue with no warning." Apple is facing several complaints related to the moves, with a pair of developers filing with the European Union's competition office and Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab filing an antitrust complaint in that country.

    The New York Times shared a brief statement from an Apple spokeswoman saying that Apple treats "all apps the same," including ones that compete with Apple's own features like Screen Time. The spokeswoman stated that the affected apps "could gain too much information from users' devices."

    After reading the article, MacRumors reader Zachary Robinson emailed Tim Cook to express concern over the situation, and earlier today he received a thorough response from Phil Schiller outlining that Apple's removal of these apps is due to their use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology to monitor everything that happens on the user's phone.

    Schiller notes that MDM technology is intended for enterprise users to install on company-owned devices, giving them easy access to and control over those devices for management purposes. The alternative usage of MDM technology by third-party developers for screen time monitoring or parental controls raises significant privacy and security concerns, however, and Apple has moved to address those issues.

    The full email from Schiller, which appears to be authentic based on our examination of the included headers:
    Apple's dedication to privacy and security is well-known, so it's unsurprising the company took steps to address concerns related to how these apps were monitoring device usage. But for some users who had come to prefer the capabilities of these apps such as cross-platform compatibility with Android devices in their households and more robust app controls, Apple's Screen Time feature feels like a step backward.

    Article Link: Phil Schiller Lays Out Apple's Case for Cracking Down on Screen Time Monitoring Apps
  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Good job, Apple. I knew the article was poorly written and slanted to paint an inaccurate picture of, and actions from Apple.
  3. jk1211 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2018
    MDM can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. Lots of ability to spy on someone by the company, who many abide far less data as is.

    Not a great implementation to trust for family/kids letting some company having device access.
  4. cmaier Suspended

    Jul 25, 2007
    Bad enough when MDM is used for its *intended* use (screw you, MobileIron!)
  5. WhoDaKat macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2006
    Unfortunately the New York Times article you reference did not share our complete statement, nor explain the risks to children had Apple not acted on their behalf.

    Honestly this kind of irks me at the NYT. How do you write an article on something like this and leave out part of the companies statement that at best exonerates them and at worst at least explains their actions. The NYT is supposed to have journalistic integrity. Way to feed fuel to "someones" fire. I'd support a complete ban from the App Store when any app can access my kids location without permission.
  6. ouimetnick macrumors 68020


    Aug 28, 2008
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    That's a really well written and explained response Phil provided. I agree with them 100% on this decision.
  7. 0947347, Apr 27, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019

    0947347 Suspended

    Aug 29, 2015
    I was appalled when Amazon Fire was asking me my child’s personal detail, just to be able to use a child profile. I dislike very much this kind of behaviour.

    So I was glad Apple introduced Screen Time, so I let my child use iPad instead
  8. warp9 macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2017
    Meanwhile, at Facebook:

  9. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    I have to side with Apple on this one. You can never be too careful where children are concerned and this MDM technology is probably not necessary to begin with. Let the developers create apps without the MDM and submit those for approval.
  10. mariusignorello macrumors 68000

    Jun 9, 2013
    Doesn’t matter what topic the NYT “journalists” cover. They can’t stick to the facts and provide a true report of the story. Their bias bleeds into everything they write.
  11. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    I had a feeling there was more to this story. Seems like every time something like this comes up once we get the whole story it’s not nearly as bad as the original story portrayed, or just shows Apple was right to do what they did.
  12. Hieveryone macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2014
    Man I love Apple.

    That is all.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2019 ---
    I mean that’s the thing. On one hand you’ve got some people who say “Apple won’t let screen time apps rah rah....

    But btw we got that MDM hehehe”
  13. LaraCroft835 macrumors regular


    Apr 22, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    "Apple's Screen Time feature feels like a step backward."
    Not long ago there wasn't this feature and Im sure Tim and Co will further improve on it as IOS rolls out further.

    Again MSM looking to bash Apple without honest reporting.
  14. jinnj macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    My employer was trying to enforce that all users with iPhones on their network must provide MDM access.
    MDM is a needed feature of iOS but not in this case.
  15. bluespark macrumors 68000

    Jul 11, 2009
    The fact that some screen time apps remain seems to validate Schiller's statement, and the use of MDM by third parties is obviously something Apple should manage. Sounds like this situation is something other than what it initially appeared to be.
  16. kildraik macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2006
    Clarification on the details was a great move from Phil.

    I am unimpressed with the NYT story, having just read it. Unfortunately, this is what I’ve been doing with news stories like this, because they always end up being partial-truths that get clarified by Apple later on, due to poor reporting.

    It’s definitely an opinion piece with little investigation. Very sad.

    Apple for the win.
  17. 13astion macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2010
    Phil Schiller Lays Out Apple's Case for Cracking Down on Apps Using MDM Technology for Illegitimate and Potentially Dangerous Purposes”

    Fixed it for ya...
  18. PickUrPoison, Apr 27, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2019

    PickUrPoison macrumors 601

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Very disappointed that the Times edited Apple’s statement to apparently make it more anti-Apple and clickbait-friendly. The developers who pretended that this happened out of nowhere and because it conflicts with Apple’s own ScreenTime feature should be ashamed of themselves.
  19. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Most "journalists" these days have the article written already (or at least a concept of it in their heads) before doing much fact-checking and investigating.

    Then, a stock-photo is added and some selective quotes to make them fit the headline.

    We realize this in this case because we track Apple news very closely.

    But now pause a minute and think about all the other articles in the NYT. Do you think they got better research and better representation of all the parties involved?
    Do you really think this is an isolated case?
  20. Hieveryone macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2014
    I’m no expert, but am I the only one who thinks MDM almost sounds like a malware or a virus or at least similar in some ways to what a malware or virus could do?????
  21. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    The question is why did these “apps” get approved on App Store?
  22. PickUrPoison macrumors 601

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    I think we’ll have to wait to see the response from the Times. Errors are typically corrected. I’d expect them to update their article with Schiller’s statement, assuming he provides it to them (right now it’s just hearsay, but it certainly seems legit).
  23. kwikdeth macrumors 65816

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tempe, AZ
  24. Baymowe335 macrumors 601

    Oct 6, 2017
    Phil is 100% dead on here.

    Also, this isn’t a grammar post, but I’m seriously wondering if Phil doesn’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its.”

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