Apple under investigation for 'Sign in with Apple' button

Sign in with Apple at WWDC keynote
Sign in with Apple at WWDC keynote (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for the "Sign in with Apple" button.
  • The investigation launched after a series of complaints from developers.

After numerous complaints from developers, Apple's "Sign in with Apple" button for iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur is now being investigated by the United States Department of Justice.

According to a report by The Information (opens in new tab), investigators are wondering if the button, which offers users a faster, more private way to create accounts, is anti-competitive in nature to other phone brands.

Apple says its "Sign in with Apple" button, which gives users the ability to hide their personal details from the app, is "pro privacy." But investigators are examining how Apple uses the sign-in button and other App Store rules to make it more difficult for users to switch to a rival device maker, according to the two people, who have met regularly with the Justice Department over the past 18 months. The government's interest in the Apple sign-in button, which the company introduced in 2019, hasn't been previously reported.

In addition to investigating the "Sign in with Apple" button, the investigators are also looking into antitrust issues with the company and its App Store.

Developers began lodging complaints to U.S. investigators about the sign-in button starting last summer, these people said. The Apple button is one of several angles the DOJ is pursuing in its broader probe of the company. The others include allegations made by developers such as Spotify and Epic Games about Apple's rigid control of its App Store, including the commissions it charges developers. The probe also is examining complaints about how Apple places restrictions on location tracking and other forms of user tracking that Apple's own apps don't have to follow, said several people with knowledge of the matter.

A spokesperson for Apple says that the "Sign in with Apple" button was co-created with input from developers and has received "positive feedback". They would not comment on the investigation.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • Why would an Apple user care?
  • And, why would I want to switch?
  • Hope they are investigating Sign in with Google and Sign in with Facebook too.
  • Nothing to investigate for them, especially since their sign-ins works across all platforms, and is fully documented on how they work. Apples sign-in only works for Apple devices. But the worst part is starting in iOS 13, Apple forced all Apps that offer third-party sign-in were now required (FORCED) to support Apples sign-in as well. Not only on the iOS app, but the web sites must change their web pages or web apps as well in order to accommodate Apples sign-in. Think about it why should web sites also be FORCED to use Apples sign-in? This all stems from Apple crippling their Safari browser in the first place. Especially since Apples Safari browser never fully implemented all the web standards, like (HTML5, web apps, and to be more specific PWA). No wonder why Apple is under investigation again, and again.
  • Apple presents a choice for us that don’t wish to use Google. Just because Google places themself everywhere, doesn’t mean I want to use them. Progressive Web Apps have been around with iOS for a few years.