In the years since its debut, the iOS App Store has grown to include a ridiculous number of apps, and while Apple takes occasional steps to clear out the crud, there’s still cases of shady, scammy apps making their way to the store in the first place. Fortunately the company has updated its developer guidelines to prohibit misleading apps altogether, including those that claim to perform a “virus scan” on the device.
Apple’s new policies explicitly ban apps that claim to “include content or services that it does not actually offer.” This directly applies to virus and malware scanning apps, which can’t perform any such actions due to the way iOS isolates third-party apps from each other and from the core operating system. Not only are these apps dishonest, but they mislead users into thinking iOS can be infected with viruses or malware in the same way a PC can.
Apple has removed these kind of apps in the past, such as pulling VirusBarrier in 2015, but the ban has only been an unspoken rule until now. The new language used in the guidelines makes it 100% clear and official:
“Similarly, you should not market your app on the App Store or offline as including content or services that it does not actually offer (e.g. iOS-based virus and malware scanners). Egregious or repeated behavior is grounds for removal from the Developer Program.”