Apple has decided to eliminate the category of anti-virus and anti-malware products from the App Store, according to security firm Intego. The company announced this week that Apple informed them of their decision after pulling their app ‘VirusBarrier for iOS.’
“To be clear, this wasn’t an action directed specifically at Intego, we were one of several companies affected by Apple’s decision,” writes Intego’s Jeff Erwin. Erwin adds that users will continue to get virus definition updates, but there will be no more updates to the app.
Apple’s decision to do away with such apps shouldn’t surprise anyone. App Store-submitted software is given very limited access to the iOS filesystem, meaning an anti-malware application would have a very small and relatively unimportant area to scan for viruses.
In fact it’s this so-called “walled garden” approach—which many have criticized Apple for—that makes iOS relatively free of malware in the first place. Cisco issued a security report in 2014 claiming that 99% of mobile malware was aimed at the far-more-open Android.
All of this being said, it’s odd that Apple only just now decided to pull Intego’s app—it’s been in the App Store since 2011. And given that they just pushed out a major iOS 8 update, it’s understandable that they—like many other developers—are frustrated with the process.