Apple admits China is the country it most censors the App Store for

China's takedowns far-outweigh the takedowns from other countries.


China is the country with the largest number of apps removed from Apple's App Store, and although the company has not revealed the causes, experts say it could be due to the situation of censorship in the nation.

Conflicts between Apple and China

Every six months, Apple releases the so-called “transparency report“, where the company indicates the actions they have taken concerning users and government requests.

Among the data offered is the number of apps removed from government requests.

What stands out from the last two reports is that the Chinese App Store is the one that has removed the most apps over the year, far exceeding other countries.

Although they usually remove gambling apps or apps with pornography content (both illegal in China), Apple did not reveal the specific causes or the name of the affected apps.

Between the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019, the store officially eliminated 805 apps.

This is just in Mainland China.

Although the number of applications removed was halved in the first half of 2019, we will need to wait until July to see the results of the second half of 2019.

Just the tip of the iceberg

Apple has had to give in to pressure from the Chinese government if they want to continue operating in the country.

During 2017, they had to remove more than 600 VPN apps from the App Store after China created a law regulating the use of VPNs to prevent citizens from surpassing the “Great Firewall”.

According to an independent investigation conducted by GreatFire (a website dedicated to reporting Chinese censorship), at least 2,678 apps are not available in the country's App Store.

This number could be even greater since these are only the apps that users have not found in the App Store after performing a search.

The biggest affected, in addition to the VPNs, seems to be the news apps.

At least 149 major media applications, such as the New York Times, are not in the store because they do not follow China's content regulations.


Fabrizio Bulleri
Fabrizio Bulleri is a tech reporter with several years of experience covering the Asian tech market. He likes traveling and keeping up with everything digital-related. [email protected]