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Apple just banned popular iPhone chat app Telegram for showing inappropriate content

Published Feb 1st, 2018 10:17AM EST
Telegram iPhone App
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

Telegram isn’t just an old-timey way to send printed notes across long distances. It’s also one of the most popular iPhone and Android chat apps in the world, competing with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, and all the other messaging apps out there. But Apple removed Telegram from the App Store on Wednesday, also taking down the experimental Telegram X version in the process. It turns out the Telegram apps broke Apple’s rule, by showing inappropriate content.

First mentioned on a Reddit thread, the app’s disappearance was confirmed by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov in a tweet.

“We were alerted by Apple that inappropriate content was made available to our users and both apps were taken off the App Store,” he said. “Once we have protections in place we expect the apps to be back on the App Store.”

The CEO did not explain what exactly Apple had found that violates App Store rules. After all, messaging apps, Apple’s iMessage included, can be used to spread inappropriate content. That’s not a reason to ban chat apps. That means something else in the app broke the rules.

Like many of its peers, Telegram is a rich chat application that offers end-to-end encryption, and support for calls as well as secret conversations. But Telegram’s security features were available to users even before some of its rivals started using them. That’s why Telegram has seen some criticism for being the weapon of choice for terrorists when it comes to obfuscating communication. Meanwhile, all the popular chat apps now do it, too.

That said, Telegram users who have the app installed on their iPhones and iPads can still use it to message friends. You can still use any app that’s been removed from the App Store as long as you already have it on your device. New users, meanwhile, will have to wait for Apple to re-approve Telegram, which will likely happen soon.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.