Apple Is Banning iPhone Users From Doing This, Effective Immediately

The tech company is removing certain apps from its store amid recent events.

It's not too much to say that you can use an iPhone to do just about anything these days. From snapping top-quality photos and paying at the grocery checkout to booking flights and ordering dinner to your door, the pocket-sized devices have an almost overwhelming number of possible functions. But now, Apple has announced that it will be banning iPhone users from doing one thing with the devices going forward. Read on to see what's now forbidden on your phone.

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Apple is banning Russian-state-controlled news apps RT and Sputnik from its app store.

Jun 16th 2020 : A woman holding and using Iphone 11 Pro Max smart phone with Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer on wooden table , Chiang mai Thailand
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On March 1, Apple confirmed that it had banned apps for Russian-state-controlled media outlets Russia Today (RT News) and Sputnik from its app store in every country except Russia amid its ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Tech Crunch reports. As a result, any users who now attempt to download the app in the U.S. and elsewhere are told: "this item is no longer available."

"We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence," Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesperson, said in a statement emailed to NBC News. "We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region."

Apple is also halting the sale of its products within Russia.

Shopper walking with an Apple store bag
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On the same day, Apple also announced that it was also halting the sale of its products and devices in Russia in addition to the removed apps, effective immediately. While the company doesn't operate any of its brick-and-mortar stores in the country, it does sell laptops, phones, and tablets through online stores and third-party retail shops within Russian borders, NBC News reports.

The move comes just days after Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Vice Prime minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, penned a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook petitioning him to pull his company's goods and services from the invading country.

"I appeal to you and I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe and, finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression—to stop supplying Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to [the] App Store," he wrote.

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The company also has disabled services related to Apple Pay and Maps in Russia and Ukraine.

man paying with apple pay on public transport
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According to the tech giant, Apple has also suspended other critical services in response to the invasion. According to Sainz, Apple Pay and other financial services used through Apple products were limited in Russia. The company also said it had "disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens" during the ongoing conflict.

"We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking. We join all those around the world who are calling for peace," Sainz said in the statement.

Other major companies have pulled their products from Russia.

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Apple is far from alone in banning the state-controlled media outlets from their services in response to the invasion. Recently, Google also removed the RT News and Sputnik apps from its Play store in Europe and blocked apps connected to the outlets, Reuters reports. The company also removed the outlets' videos from YouTube. Microsoft followed suit, banning the RT News app from its Windows app store and de-ranking Russia Today and Sputnik from its search engine, Bing. And streaming TV platform Roku banned RT News from its channels.

Other companies have also followed in removing their goods and services from Russia. On Feb. 27, FedEx and UPS both released statements that they would be suspending all deliveries into the country, Reuters reports. In addition, auto manufacturers General Motors and Volvo also announced that they would be stopping the export of all vehicles into Russia amid the ongoing military activity. And on Feb. 28, oil titan Shell said that it would be ceasing all operations in Russia.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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