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Apple removes 1Blocker from China App Store, says it's a VPN

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has removed a popular ad-blocker from the App Store in China.
  • 1Blocker was taken down because it is a VPN.
  • The developer says it will appeal the decision, as it has no VPN servers and doesn't route any data through servers at all.

Apple has removed 1Blocker from the App Store in China over claims the app is a VPN, and that the developer doesn't have a suitable license required to operate it.

1Blocker took to Twitter Tuesday stating:

Apple removed 1Blocker from the China App Store for being a "VPN app". We're going to appeal this.We have no VPN servers. In fact, we don't route data traffic through any servers at all. Everything's done locally inside our network extension.

A notice attached to the tweet from App Store Review highlights section '5.4 VPN apps' in its subject and says that 1Blocker "will be removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal in China." Specifically, it notes the government requires VPN app developers to have a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to operate them, and that 1Blocker does not have this.

Apple says the only way to rectify this is to get a license and provide it to Apple. Only companies based in China can get the license, and Apple says without one the app will be made unavailable in the App Store. The app is still available everywhere else, but 1Blocker notes that China is its number two market for downloads.

Expressing further exasperation, 1Blocker says Apple has removed the Mac version of its app from the App Store even though it doesn't mention VPN anywhere "and doesn't even install a VPN profile." 1Blocker stated that Apple usually "gives a notice before removing an app from the store," but that "In our case, they just went straight ahead and removed it."

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.