Apple's iOS takes a bite out of your freedom
Apple, not you, controls what you can install on mobile devices
Apple corporate headquarters keeps a tight lock on the apps available for its mobile operating system (iOS), which is used on the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Software developers even have to pay a tax to Apple to publish their work in the App store.
Apple also prevents you from changing the operating system on the devices, so there's no way to escape the restrictions. If you try to change the software on your device, Apple's lawyers claim you are a criminal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Apple is a patent bully
Apple continually amasses patents, simply so that it can threaten other developers with lawsuits if they create something vaguely similar to an Apple program, even by accident. Sometimes the company even uses its massive patent arsenal to threaten developers of programs that interact with its products. Apple's aggression chills innovation in the world of software (especially free software), because developers are scared of getting on Apple's bad side.
Apple uses DRM to prevent sharing and remixing media
All Apple products accept and welcome DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) that takes control of your music, movies and games away from you. Even though it's possible to download DRM-free music through iTunes, its streaming music and rental movies have DRM.
Apple's App Store only allows restrictively licensed software
As part of its micromanaging of the apps available for iOS, Apple censors all free software. Additionally, iTunes, which comes with desktop and mobile devices, refuses to play media in free formats like Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora.
Apple keeps users' personal data in a sketchy corporate database
Apple operates a network of services for managing contacts, calendars and correspondence across all its devices. This amounts to a huge vacuum sucking up users' personal information and storing it in a centralized server farms that are vulnerable to attacks. And since the software running on people's Apple devices is proprietary, no one except Apple can audit it and know exactly what it is sending to the mothership.
If you're using an iPhone, the situation is particularly bad: the devices exposes your whereabouts and provides ways for others to track you without your knowledge.
You can help by writing to Apple CEO Tim Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) and letting him know that you won't buy Apple devices because of their proprietary software and DRM. Please CC us on the email at email@example.com. Check out an example email from the FSF's anti-DRM campaign, Defective by Design.
- Apple is a prominent user of DRM
- Apple hoards software patents, stamping out innovation
- Give Apple the iOS Challenge!
- More of Apple's nasty behavior, compiled by FSF founder Richard Stallman.
- Apple's ebook sales restrictions: the newest reason to use free software (from 2012)
- Pot, meet kettle: a response to Steve Jobs' letter on Flash (from 2012)
- Apple says you can't have freedom because you might be clumsy, evil, and a drug dealer (from 2009)
- Why free software and Apple's iOS and iPhone don't mix (from 2008)