Russian iPhone App Store removes multiple VPN apps following Kremlin demands

Apple Angry birds app store
(Image credit: Future)

Russian iPhone owners now have around 25 fewer VPN apps to choose from after they were removed from the App Store in the country.

The move reportedly came at the behest of Roskomnadzor, the watchdog responsible for controlling which media is available within Russia's borders. It's alleged that the VPN apps allowed for content to be accessed despite it being illegal in Russia.

Multiple apps have been removed from the store with developers taking to social media to share the news. VPN apps have become popular in Russia as users seek access to apps and services that had been blocked or removed from Russia as a result of the country's invasion of Ukraine. 


Local media reports that steps were taken in the spring of 2022 to block VPN access by Russian users.

Now, Red Shield VPN among others say that their apps have been removed by the App Store through no fault of their own.

"Apple, at the request of Roskomnadzor, removed the Red Shield VPN application from the Russian App Store," the VPN company said via X. "We are aware of at least one other VPN app that was removed at the same time as ours."

The post went on to "encourage journalists and human rights organizations to publish information and submit inquiries to Apple about this."

Ultimately, Apple has to comply with local laws and has little say in the matter, but that will be no comfort to those in Russia who no longer have access to VPN services they may have previously relied on.

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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.