Apple just banned apps from cryptocurrency mining on iOS devices

Apple is taking a stance against cryptocurrency mining. The company has updated its developer guidelines to explicitly ban cryptocurrency mining apps on iOS devices. Why? It’s part of wider restrictions against apps that drain battery, generate excessive heat, or strain a device’s resources — all of which take place during cryptocurrency mining.

“Apps, including any third-party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,” states the new policy.

Here’s a full list of the new guidelines.

  1. Apple will allow virtual currency wallet apps, as long as they’re offered by developers who are enrolled as organizations.
  2. The only cryptocurrency mining apps allowed are those that mine outside of the device, like cloud-based mining.
  3. Apps can help users make pay, trade, or receive cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, but the apps must be from the exchanges themselves.
  4. Similarly, apps involved in initial coin offerings, bitcoin futures trading, or other cryptocurrency securities trading need to be from the banks, firms, or other approved financial institutions. And they must be lawful.
  5. Cryptocurrency apps can’t offer users virtual coin for tasks like downloading other apps, getting other users to download the app, or boosting social media activity.

Of course, developers running ads that exploit device resources to mine cryptocurrencies has been an issue for a while now, and not just on mobile devices. Even YouTube was briefly serving up ads like this for a while, until Google noticed what was happening and banned the ads. Apple’s policy goes a step further, however — it bans mining of any kind, even if the user explicitly wants to use their device for mining.

It’s unlikely that the new policy will frustrate miners. iPhones and iPads don’t really possess the processing power to make them good mining devices. That said, it’s possible future devices could possess such power.

Thankfully Apple isn’t banning any app related to cryptocurrency mining. As long as the mini process happens off the devices, apps related to the process will still be allowed. On top of that, crypto wallets can still be used on iOS devices.

Cryptocurrency mining itself basically involves setting a computer the task of solving equations. To trade bitcoin, transactions are verified through these complex equations, then added to a distributed ledger. In return for solving the equations, miners get bitcoin. Of course, there is a cost associated with mining — electricity costs money, so mining isn’t worth it on many lower-powered computers and devices.