According to 9to5Mac, users from Russia, upon setup of their brand-new iPhone:

Apple users will see a dialog box upon initial setup of new devices that features web browsers, antivirus, messenger, email clients, and more to be installed by default. The list of apps is provided by the government.

At first, I thought it was a bad decision from Apple, to allow this to happen. Bending to state laws from a country like Russia doesn’t look good. Who’s next? China? What about smartphone carriers?

The headlines are scarier than the reality, though. Users will be able to uninstall those state-sponsored apps. Otherwise, it is easy to imagine many scenarios like the dreaded PC bloatware we had to endure in the nineties from Microsoft’s OEMs. Or even worse, what about state surveillance applications? How will Apple say no to those? Are PCs subject to the same requirements? If not, why?

On the flip side, I can see some situations where apps could be suggested that would make sense, like contact tracing apps. It could have made a difference if we had this feature implemented before the pandemic. Another case is to suggest a government sponsored app that gives access to services sponsored by the government (immigration, finance, security, etc.). Finally, what are those apps that will make the list when setting up a new iPhone in Russia? I hope someone will share their experience once the law comes into effect.

Photo credits: Steve Harvey on Unsplash