Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining on iOS

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul South Korea

Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining on iOS

Apple is cracking down on cryptocurrency activity on its devices.

Apple just released a new set of guidelines for iOS app developers, with a number of changes that impact the world of cryptocurrency. Under the mandated rules.

The guidelines reference cryptocurrency mining in two places, in a section about power efficiency (2.4.2) and a separate Cryptocurrencies section (3.1.5). The section also bans apps and any third-party ads from running "unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining".

Apple has a clear message for cryptocurrency enthusiasts: Don't mine it on our devices. This includes the production of wallets and the production of apps for cloud-based mining (no apps will be permitted that allow local mining on iPhones specifically). Apple allows apps like Coinbase and Robinhood to enable users to trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, so it's not a complete ban on mobile crypto.

Mac and iOS users haven't been targeted as much as web servers and Windows users, who've taken the brunt of most coinmining malware campaigns, but Apple has seen at least one incident in March when a cryptocurrency miner slipped on the Mac App Store inside the Calendar 2 app by Qbix. In the most recent update, that section's language precludes apps from hiding mining (or other) features within background tasks.

In sticking with the original mandate, only mainstream banks and similar financial institutions will be allowed to develop and publish apps enabling crypto futures trading and initial coin offerings, Apple said. Initial offerings including futures investments, or other securities dealing with cryptocurrencies must be offered by an established bank, securities firm or exchange. Exchanges are fine, too, as long as they are the ones offering transactions or transmissions of currency. It also rules that, "Cryptocurrency apps may not offer currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps, encouraging other users to download, posting to social networks, etc".

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