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Apple Did Not Ban Grindr From the App Store

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
20th June 2021
Apple Did Not Ban Grindr From the App Store
Grindr in no way violates Apple's new guidelines (Getty Images).

The Claim

Apple’s recent App Store Guidelines update bans Grindr and a range of other LGBTQ dating apps.

Emerging story

In early June, Apple released a number of updates to its App Store Review Guidelines. Section 1.1.4 of this update stated that it was not allowing apps that feature overtly sexual or pornographic material. The update then went on to clarify its definition of overtly sexual or pornographic material. The final sentence of this update stated that hookup apps that include pornography or facilitate prostitution were included under this definition. 

People online interpreted the update to mean that Apple was banning Grindr from the App Store, which is a dating app for gay, trans, bi, and queer people. These posts soon managed to gain thousands of interactions. One post sharing the claim has managed to gain over 158,000 likes to date. 

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A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation concludes that it is incorrect to state that Apple has banned Grindr from the App Store. 

The social media users who interpreted section 1.1.4 of the update as a ban on Grindr have miscategorized the app and misinterpreted the guidance. Grindr is technically not a “hookup app.” It describes itself as a social networking app. The guidance update is not an attempt to prohibit LGBTQ apps that lead to sexual encounters. 

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An excerpt from Apple's new guidelines (Screenshot).

Within 24 hours of the guideline updates being launched, Apple confirmed that it was not going to prohibit Grindr or other LGBTQ social networking apps. The intent behind the new guidance is to ensure that the preexisting ban on apps whose purpose is to distribute pornography, prostitution and facilitate human trafficking is clear to app developers. Apple also stated that there had been a rise in the number of apps that do this. Therefore, the guidance indicates that Apple is enforcing its bans and cracking down on these apps. 

Our investigation could identify instances of Grindr being prohibited in some countries around the world. However, these bans are due to government actions instead of Apple’s guidelines. Similarly, in May, The New York Times did note that in China, a number of LGBTQ dating apps had been removed from the App Store. At the time, Apple stated that these had been removed due to Chinese law. 

Lastly, it is also worth noting that as the Apple CEO is an openly gay man, it is unlikely that the company will take actions that prohibit LGBTQ culture at any time in the near future.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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