Apple Outlaws Cryptocurrency Mining Apps

Following an update to its App Store review guidelines, Apple has explicitly halted the design and development of iOS applications which can be used for direct cryptocurrency mining. Still, off-device cloud-based mining is not affected by the changes. 

Direct Cryptocurrency Mining is a No-Go

Even though there’s no official record of when the update in the developer’s guidelines took place, Apple made it pretty clear that it is directly targeting the prevention of cryptocurrency mining.

In its updated guidelines, Apple instructs any developer who wants to list his or her application on the App Store to refrain from producing software which runs unrelated background processes:

2.4.2 Design your app to use power efficiently. Apps should not rapidly drain the battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources. Apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.

Exceptions Exist

Another section of Apple’s App Store review guidelines allows apps to mine for cryptocurrencies only if the process is performed off the device. Referring to so-called cloud-based mining:

(ii) Mining: Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device (e.g. cloud-based mining).

Cloud-based mining allows the user to take advantage of a shared processing power which is generally run from data centers. All you’d need in this case is a device for communications.

Understandable Concerns

Cryptocurrency mining is a process which requires a lot of computational power. It can generate excessive heat and put a serious strain on the resources of a device – all the things Apple wants to restrain. While you’re highly unlikely to be able to mine a Bitcoin on your iPhone as it requires quite a lot of computational effort — after the recent policy update — Apple won’t allow you to mine even less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies directly.

The update also attempts to halt rising concerns referred to as phone cryptojacking. It’s a process where cybercriminals use scripts or apps to ‘steal’ your device’s computation power in order to mine cryptocurrencies.

It’s also worth noting that Apple’s move explicitly targets apps intended for cryptocurrency mining and others which drain your device’s battery rapidly. This is not a move against cryptocurrency apps in general. In fact, the guidelines allow the development and listing of apps which facilitate virtual currency storage, transactions, transmissions, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) — as long as they abide by the applicable laws.

Do you think Apple’s ban on direct cryptocurrency mining apps is justified? Let us know in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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