Apple Quietly Bans Iranian iPhone Users From The App Store

Apple has done something that iPhone users in Iran won't be happy about. As of about noon GMT on Thursday, it appears that Apple has implemented a countrywide IP ban that has blocked all iPhone users in Iran from accessing the App Store. When an Iranian user attempts to access the App Store, they receive a message that says "The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you're in."

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Some users in Iran have been able to get around the IP ban by using a VPN even if their account has Iranian details in it. As for why the ban has taken place, Apple has given no official word. However, Apple doesn’t sell any products in the country and there is no Iranian App Store due to U.S. sanctions against the country.

There are huge numbers of iPhones in Iran, but they are all there via the black market where devices are smuggled into Iran from places like Hong Kong or Dubai. Traditionally, Iranian users have gotten around the fact that there is no App Store for the country by setting their devices to other regions.

This isn't a complete surprise, however, as Apple has made moves in the past to remove apps created specifically for Iranian users from the App Store. One app that was removed was called Snapp, an app that was for a popular Iranian ride-hailing service. Apple was in the news earlier this week when it and Google were sued in France for alleged abusive practices in the App Store and Google Play.