Apple to Preset Russian Apps on Devices in Coordination With Russian Gov’t, Reports Suggest

U.S. tech giant Apple has agreed with the Russian Finance Ministry to ensure the pre-installation of Russian applications on its devices, Sputnik News reports.

Under the measure, when an Apple device purchased in Russia is activated for the first time, the user should see a dialog box where they will be asked by default to set up applications from the list approved by the government, the source explained. However, there will be an option to suspend the installation by removing the checkboxes in front of certain applications.

Apple confirmed the report and noted that it complies with the laws of the countries in which it operated. The measure is due to come into effect on April 1, the company told the newspaper.

According to the source in the ministry, negotiations are underway with Apple to create the selection of promising Russian applications in the App Store.

“The ministry is not at all interested in the perspective under which popular programs included in the list for mandatory pre-installation occupy a dominant position. If alternative offers that are interesting to users and quickly gaining popularity appear on the market, they will be included in this selection and will also be offered for pre-installation,” the source said.

In December 2020, the Russian government adopted a law forbidding the sale of certain types of technically complex goods in the country without pre-installing Russian software prescribed by the state starting April 1. The list of Russian applications for the preinstallation on various new devices was confirmed by the authorities in early January. It includes popular search engines, internet browsers, email services, social networks, antivirus software, online movie theaters, and other types of software.