Google just disabled a private iOS app that monitored users’ iPhone usage, after it was revealed today that the app violated Apple’s distribution policies in the same way that Facebook’s usage-tracking Research app did.
Called Screenwise Meter, the iOS and Android app gave users who opted into Google’s Opinion Rewards program gift cards in exchange for tracking their internet usage data. The iOS version of the app relied on Apple’s enterprise program, which allows for the distribution of apps with special privileges to be used only by a company’s employees. The app has now been disabled on iOS, though it’s still available on Google’s Play Store.
A Google spokesperson told The Verge, “The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.”
As punishment for violating Apple’s enterprise policy with its Research app, Facebook had all of its internal apps disabled today, and now the question is whether Google will face the same fate. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.