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Discord confirms it's blocking NSFW servers to appease Apple

Discord banner
Discord banner (Image credit: Discord)

What you need to know

  • Discord has confirmed the reasons behind its decision to block NSFW servers on iOS.
  • A spokesperson says the move is all about complying with Apple's policies.

We learned yesterday that Discord is blocking NSFW servers for all iPhone and iPad users, regardless of whether they are over 18 or not. Now, the company has confirmed that the move is indeed only to appease Apple and that the move isn't happening on Android devices.

According to a new Mashable report, a spokesperson confirmed that this is all about Apple rather than something Discord is doing for itself. Many had suggested that was the case when we learned that Google's Android platform isn't in the same boat, but now we know for sure.

According to a Discord spokesperson, the new policy, which will go into effect over the next several days, is an effort to "to comply with Apple's policies[.]"

Those wanting to gain access to Discord servers marked as NSFW will have to do so via the web or an Android device moving forward. It isn't yet clear what App Store rules Discord is trying to stay on the right side of, especially considering Discord isn't doing anything a web browser like Chrome and indeed Apple's own Safari can do. Or the many Reddit apps already in the App Store, for that matter.

Apple's policies have caused problems for tons of apps over the years, not least since the release of iOS 14 and its renewed focus on privacy.

Away from iOS, Discord remains one of the best voice chat alternatives to Nintendo Switch Online, at least. So long as your server isn't marked as NSFW of course!

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

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.

4 Comments
  • The main difference with Reddit is that is has an 'Allow NSFW content' setting on its website that has to be set there and not on the App to allow the App to see NSFW content. This is a requirement in Apple's terms. On Discord, there is no such global setting and the adult verification for NSFW channels in handled by the channels themselves, and not in a consistent or truly secure way in many cases.
  • That's fine for reddit if they want that setting. However the countless web browsers, music services, video services, Twitter clients for ios all offer access to adult content without needing to enable it globally on a web page.
  • I would also be afraid of Apple. Who wouldn’t? Does anybody know what type of threats Apple is using? Only verbal?
  • "It isn't yet clear what App Store rules Discord is trying to stay on the right side of..." Might I direct you to https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/. Check section 1.1 Objectionable Content. This sort of defines what NSFW servers, uh, serve. Is this new? No. Is this the only way to deal with this? No. But it is the way that will garner Discord the most press. There goes Apple, ruining your life again.