Apple agrees to pre-install apps on Russian devices

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has agreed to comply with laws in Russia mandating that some software comes pre-installed on devices sold in the country.
  • From April 1 users will be offered a selection of apps from Russian developers on device activation.
  • The apps include browsers, antivirus software, messengers, and mail apps.

Apple has agreed to comply with laws introduced in Russia in 2019, stating that all devices must come with a host of pre-installed software.

From Vedomosti Business Daily:

Apple has agreed to comply with the rules of the law on mandatory pre-installation on gadgets of Russian software - from April 1, devices when activated in Russia will offer domestic applications. It was possible to agree on this during negotiations with the leadership of the Ministry of National Finance A high-ranking source in the Ministry of Finance told Vedomosti about reaching an agreement with Apple. The agreements stipulate that the first time Apple is purchased in Russia, the user will see a dialog window when setting up, in which he will be asked to install applications from the government-approved list by default, Vedomosti said. It will be possible to refuse installation, removing ticks in front of certain applications, explains the source of the publication.

Pre-installed software actually seems to be a bit of a misnomer. Rather, users will be presented with the choice to install these apps on device setup and will be able to refuse installation, however, it seems this is an opt-out option, rather than opt-in. The outlet says that Apple has confirmed this directly to them, however nothing official has been made public, iMore has also reached out to Apple to confirmation. The move will affect operating systems like iOS 14 and iPadOS, as well as Apple's iPhone and iPad lineup.

The report continues:

From April 1, users will be offered a selection of apps from Russian developers through the activation screens of new devices, which they will be able to choose to install on their iPhone or iPad, Apple told Vedomosti, stressing that the company complies with the laws of the countries in which it operates. For more than 10 years, Apple's app store has proven to be a safe and secure place to search and download apps - as part of the company's experience providing customers, all applications are tested to meet privacy, security and content standards, the company said.

Apple is also reportedly in discussions to promote "promising" applications within its App Store. The list of available software shown on installation includes the following:

...browsers, antivirus and mapping software, messengers, mail agents and online cinema agents, the State Services app, the Mir Pay payment system app, and more...

Apple had previously hinted it would withdraw from the Russian market if the law was passed, however, it seems now some compromise has been reached, with Apple agreeing to abide by the laws, which were passed in 2019.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9