Apple may be forced to let iPhone users in Europe uninstall Photos app: report

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Apple has again found itself in hot water with the European Union (EU). Earlier this year, the EU brought the Digital Markets Act (DMA) into force with a March 6 deadline. Among many user-centric policies, the act also requires consumer tech companies to focus on interoperability and offer an open ecosystem where users have the choice to select a specific app as the default in the device. While Apple added support for alternative app marketplaces and allowed third-party browsers to run their engines to comply with the Act, the EU believes the Photos app is still in violation.

On March 25, the European Commission (EC) launched a non-compliance investigation against Apple, Google and Meta. For Apple, three reasons were listed Press announcement It said, “The Commission initiated proceedings against Apple for its actions to (i) enable end users to easily uninstall any software application on iOS, (ii) easily change default settings on iOS and (iii) prompt users to comply with their obligations. is Choice screens that should effectively and easily allow them to choose an alternative default service, such as a browser or search engine on their iPhones.”

Accordingly report By John Gruber of Daring Fireball Part of the reasons mentioned above refer to the Photos app. Gruber highlights this from a comment by EC Executive Vice President, Margrethe Vestager. “Apple also failed to make many apps un-installable (one of them would be Photos) and prevent end users from changing their default state (cloud for example), which is required by the DMA,” she said.

Allowing users to delete the Photos app can be difficult for iPhone makers. As Gruber points out in the report, Apple’s system apps are deeply integrated into the operating system. The Photos app, for example, is not just an app for viewing photos in the gallery but also serves the purpose of giving different levels of access to third-party apps to increase security. The Photos app is also integrated with iCloud and allows users to share selected albums or the entire gallery with other users. Apple may need to re-engineer iOS as a whole to make the Photos app uninstallable and allow third-party gallery apps to have the same access.

With the non-compliance case now open, the EC intends to complete the proceedings within 12 months. Apple will now have to pay a fine of up to 20 percent of its total worldwide revenue if regulators don’t provide reasonable grounds for not uninstalling an app. The EC highlights that in case of systematic infringement, it can prohibit the gatekeeper (consumer tech company) from selling the business or its parts or receiving additional services related to non-compliance.


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