Fortnite 'Sign in with Apple' claims 'simply false', says Gruber

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

What you need to know

  • John Gruber says Epic Games' claim Apple tried to shut down Sign in with Apple for Fortnite is false.
  • He states that multiple sources at Apple have denied the claims and that it would make no sense for Apple to do this.
  • The news comes after a Judge was highly critical of Epic Games for being dishonest in its dealings with Apple.

Update, September 30 (1:30 pm ET): Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has responded to Gruber's claims, saying that they are false

Daring Fireball's John Gruber says multiple sources at Apple have confirmed that Epic Games' claim that the company was going to disable Sign in with Apple for Fortnite was false.

In a report Tuesday, Gruber notes that Epic Games previously warned users that Apple would disable Sign in with Apple for Fortnite from September 11. It quickly changed its tune to say Apple had provided an indefinite extension, and in a statement, Apple stated it had no such plans.

Gruber now corroborates this story, stating that multiple sources within Apple have backed this up, and further stating that such a move would have made no sense:

This smelled funny to me from the start, as it made no sense from Apple's perspective. Shutting Epic off from Sign In With Apple wouldn't penalize or punish Epic — it would only punish players who used (and trusted) Sign In With Apple (SIWA herewith) to create their accounts. It would punish only Fortnite players, and cause reputational harm among developers to the dependability of SIWA.

He continues:

I haven't written about this until now, but I was reminded of it by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers's disparagement of Epic Games' honesty during yesterday's hearing. I spent a few hours back on September 9 digging into this SIWA story, and multiple sources at Apple told me Epic's claims were simply false. There was never a September 11 deadline for their SIWA support to stop working, and in fact, Apple's SIWA team performed work to make sure SIWA continued working for Fortnite users despite the fact that Epic Games' developer account had been revoked. There was no "extension" because Apple was never going to revoke Epic's SIWA access.

Gruber's comments were made after Judge Gonzalez Rogers told Epic in court that it was dishonest in its dealings with Apple.

As reported by CNN:

"You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That's the security issue. That's the security issue!" Gonzalez Rogers told Epic. "There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it's still not honest."

Gruber implies in the title of his piece that Epic Games "is an unreliable narrator". Both Apple and Epic Games have told a court they would prefer a trial to be decided by a judge, rather than a jury in this case. The court has not issued a judgment regarding a motion from Epic Games seeking to have Fortnite reinstated to the App Store.

Update, September 30 (1:30 pm ET) — Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has responded to Gruber's claims, saying that they are false

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has responded to the Gruber article, saying that Apple's claim to never have threatened to disable Sign in With Apple for Fortnite users was false. Sweeney points to communcation from Apple in documents filed in the lawsuit that prove there was pressure from the company to disable the feature.

"That's not right. Apple's communication to Epic on SIWA are in the public documents filed in the lawsuit. We twice asked Apple counsel to not block SIWA. They first offered a temporary extension, and then an indefinite extension."

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