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Apple: new Russian phone sales legislation is 'equivalent to jailbreaking'

Russian flag on iPhone
Russian flag on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Russian President Putin has signed legislation requiring phones to come pre-installed with Russian software.
  • The move will impact Apple among others.
  • An Apple source called it "equivalent to jailbreaking" iPhones.

Yesterday saw Russian President Vladimir Putin sign legistlation that will impact all smartphones sold in the country. As of July next year, all phones sold in Russia will have to come with pre-installed Russian software. It isn't yet clear what that software wil be, but an Apple source speaking with one Russian outlet (via MacRumors) isn't happy.

According to the report one unnamed Apple source told Kommersant that "a mandate to add third-party applications to Apple's ecosystem would be equivalent to jailbreaking. It would pose a security threat, and the company cannot tolerate that kind of risk."

And that might be accurate, especially at a time when we don't know what the software will be. Some believe that the move will allow Russian software companies to better compete, but others think it may just give Russian authorities another way to keep tabs on the country's people. Russia already requires messaging services to hand over encryption keys, for example.

The new legistlation comes into play on July 1 2020, and it will be super interesting to see what Apple has to say about it in a more official capacity than an unnamed source. But the company has previously threatened to pull out of Russia, so now might be the time for Apple to put its rubles where its mouth us.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • "But the company has previously threatened to pull out of Russia, so now might be the time for Apple to put its rubles where its mouth us." Good luck with that. Apple showed us where their moral high ground was with the Hong Kong app fiasco.
  • Apple is in a tight spot with this one though, they _really_ don't want to have third-party preinstalled apps. I guess if they were apps that have been vetted through the App Store it's not as bad, but I still can't see Apple doing it