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, iPad, and Apple Watch. Software developers even have to pay a tax to Apple to publish their work in the App Store. With the vice-like grip they have on Macs now thanks to Apple Silicon, new Mac computers now forbid you from installing free software applications or operating systems, due to improper use of code signing.
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 Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They've done this as recently as December 2019, when they used the DMCA to remove a post to Twitter that revealed an iPhone encryption key.
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 on an Apple device, its streaming music and 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, Apple Music, which comes with their 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.
Take action!You can help by writing to Apple CEO Tim Cook (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need help on drafting one, check out an example email from the FSF's anti-DRM campaign, Defective by Design.
- Antitrust Day: Tech monopolies shouldn't be allowed to control app stores (2022)
- Pumpkins, markets, and one bad Apple (2022)
- A wake up call for iPhone users, it's time to go. (2021)
- The problems with Apple aren't just outages, they are injustices (2020)
- Why you should avoid the new iPhone (2017)
- Give Apple the iOS Challenge!
- Apple is a prominent user of DRM
- Watch Your Freedom (Because Apple's Not) (2015)
- FSF statement on iPhone, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch (2014)
- Apple hoards software patents, stamping out innovation (2013)
- FSF statement on new iPhone models from Apple (2013)
- Apple's ebook sales restrictions: the newest reason to use free software (2012)
- Pot, meet kettle: a response to Steve Jobs' letter on Flash (2012)
- Apple v. Samsung: A patent battle with freedom as the collateral damage (2012)
- Apple's iOS: smaller package, bigger restrictions (2011)
- VLC developer takes a stand against DRM enforcement in Apple's App Store (2010)
- GPL Enforcement in Apple's App Store (2010)
- iPad is iBad for freedom (2010)
- 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)