Apple Reverses Anti-Bitcoin App Policy and Allows Mobile Wallets Back in the App Store

Apple to Allow Bitcoin App

Until recently, only Android users could send and receive Bitcoins from their smartphone.

One of the most attractive features of cryptocurrencies is their ability to reside on a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones. The Google Play store for Android has long allowed app developers to create mobile wallets that allow the transmission of Bitcoins or altcoins. However, Apple blocked cryptocurrency apps from the Apple store, meaning that iPhone users were out of luck if they wanted to take Bitcoin with them on the go. The Bitcoin community repeatedly voiced their frustration at Apple’s dismissal of cryptocurrency, but it seemed like their protests were falling on deaf ears–until now. In a striking turn of events, Apple  reversed their anti-Bitcoin policy and will now allow mobile wallets that facilitate the transmission of cryptocurrencies, as long as the apps are legally compliant.


Apple Reverses Anti-Bitcoin App Policy

As long-time Bitcoin users can attest, Apple has historically done little to endear itself to the cryptocurrency community. For a long time, Apple consistently blocked any type of Bitcoin app that allowed users to send and receive Bitcoins, specifically mobile wallets.  Apple was not against Bitcoin per se, because the Apple Store already featured a variety of apps related to cryptocurrency, such as news feeds and price tickers. However, they would not allow a Bitcoin app into the store if it enabled users to transmit the currency from one wallet to another, presumably because they feared transgressing government monetary regulations. They even blocked apps that accepted Bitcoin payments. So while your friend could use his Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile wallet to purchase coffee from a local cafe, you would have to pay with fiat currency or utilize one of the less-secure browser-based Bitcoin wallets.

However, Apple has changed their tune. The App Store’s updated regulatory guidelines now include a provision for developers who want to create a Bitcoin app that can send or receive payments, such as a mobile wallet. In Section 11.17 of the revised guidelines, Apple states that:

Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.

From this revised wording, it appears that the vast majority of Bitcoin and altcoin apps will be allowed back into the App Store, as long as they are not illegal in the country in which the iPhone owner is using the device. Bitcoin app developers are most assuredly scrambling to update their software to prepare to release their now-legal iPhone cryptocurrency mobile  wallets.

What Role Did the Bitcoin Community Play in Apple’s Change of Heart on Bitcoin Apps?

When Apple was still banning mobile wallets, Bitcoin owners were understandably upset. They voiced their disapproval in various ways. Some of these methods were commendable. For instance, a grassroots petition calling for Apple to reverse their decision to censor apps that allow the transmission of Bitcoins achieved more than 6,000 signatures.

However, other methods were a bit over the top. Despite Apple’s previous efforts under the old regulatory guidelines, somehow Blockchain’s Bitcoin app slipped through the cracks, at least for a while. Alas, Apple eventually realized their oversight and banned Blockchain too. For many iPhone owners, this was the last straw. In protest, one Reddit user created a bounty for videos of Bitcoin enthusiasts smashing their iPhones, and entrants responded with some unique submissions. For instance, this contestant took his iPhone to a shooting range and blew it to bits with a rifle from a distance of 300 yards.


It is unclear whether either of these methods actually influenced Apple’s decision, but it is unlikely. Perhaps the decisions of high-profile companies like DISH Network to accept Bitcoin gave Bitcoin more credibility in Apple’s eyes, or perhaps Apple just wanted to wait until governments had given more definitive statements on the legality of cryptocurrency before they allowed any Bitcoin apps into the App Store.

Whatever the reason for Apple’s change of heart on mobile wallets, Bitcoin enthusiasts who own iPhones will certainly rejoice. Apple markets its iPhone by capitalizing on the “cool” factor, so Bitcoin owners had to be embarrassed by Apple’s aversion to cryptocurrency technology. Luckily, that has changed. The next time you meet your Android-wielding friends for coffee, you don’t have to hang your head in envy as they pay with Bitcoin.

Fiat is so old-fashioned.


Updated: June 3, 2014 at 6:21 am CET.

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  • Samantha Atkins

    The take home is that Apple claims the power to unilaterally decide what apps you can and cannot run. Now they have decided to allow it and the people cheer. But really they are just again saying that they can do whatever they want and you have no recourse. Think about it.

  • ugli

    “Until recently, only Android users could send and receive Bitcoins from their smartphone.”

    -False. I’ve been able to do that on my phone running the windows phone 8 OS.

  • http://dfdfdfdfd roninkash

    good service for mixing

  • AskiTan

    JonathanPitchfork that makes what they did not less disgraceful and unforgivable.

  • AskiTan

    neil95 you missed everything except the copy pasting of the Apple vow of allegiance.
    just because Apple ‘tests’ every app does not mean there is no malware.
    apple users are just very trusting and apple works hard to keep news of apple malware out of the news.

    and please: this is about bitcoin. not google.

    and apple is the only company that used open and agressive censorship against one of the greatest invention of all time.

    Microsoft did not. google did not.

    and Apple always talks the talk. after all, apple is a re-packaging company that has never done anything original. so propaganda is second nature for them.

    but they are just as much NSA fanbois as microsoft and google.

  • neil95

    Apple reviews each and every app before it’s allowed on the App Store, which is why there is no malware on the App Store.
    I’m not sure where you’re going with the Hitler thing. OS X and Windows are equally open in that they allow any software to run on their respective systems. iOS on the other hand, limits itself to software from the App Store. But this walled garden approach makes it possible to have no malware on the system. Furthermore, iOS 8’s extensions allow for inter-app communication, custom keyboards, and more. So it’s not all THAT closed off. Also, I linked you to Apple’s open source contributions in my previous comment.
    FileVault’s full disk encryption has been independently reviewed by many. I’ll save you the trouble of Googling by linking you to this paper:
    If you look at some of the leaked NSA documents and slides, you’ll see that Microsoft and Google have been far more cooperative with the agency than Apple. Android’s security is a joke and it’s easy to get past an Android passcode/pattern. However, even with advanced forensics tools like Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker and Oxygen Forensic, it’s impossible to break in to a passcode-protected iOS device.
    The most likely reason that Apple was blocking bitcoin apps is because bitcoin is still a bit of a grey area in terms of regulation and legality in many countries, and they probably needed to get all the info first.
    Did I miss anything?

  • AskiTan

    neil95 AskiTan you are kidding, right? no malware in the app store? how brain washed do you have to be to make such a sweeping statement?
    and to call Apple more open than microsoft is hilarious. why not compare it to hitler? Apple is far more open minded than Hitler! 
    seriously though, the whole windows PC platform is about a trillion times more diverse than the anally regulated apple *cough*faschism simulator*cough* ecosystem.
    and secondly, your whole post is corporate speak and fully of fallacies. ‘is considered extremeley secure’. sure. by the NSA.
    Apple is just like microsoft an enemy of free speeech.
    the difference is, that microsoft has NOT blocked bitcoin and windows is much more diverse and open than Apple’s OSes.
    so the smaller evil in this picture is microsoft.

  • neil95

    AskiTan I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about. Apple has made more open source contributions than companies like Microsoft ( Apple’s encryption system, FileVault, is considered extremely secure. There is no malware on the App Store. iOS 8 opened up the system quite a bit while still protecting users. I could go on. Do a bit of research before blindly bashing something.

  • AskiTan

    do not trust apple.

    they’re snakes.

    Apple has the right to delete any app from your phone. or make sure the apps they allow are riddled with bugs or malware to screw with bitcoin acceptance.

    apple has stated their IDEOLOGICAL position. 

    Apple has always been against open source, open systems , free speech, privacy and anonymity.

    apple will track your private and public keys and send them to the NSA or store them.

    do not trust this company

  • Y3llowb1ackbird

    talontech1 Yeah, it’s definitely a lot easier to get Apple users into Bitcoin by showing them an app rather than having to go through the process in a browser-based wallet.

  • Y3llowb1ackbird

    nikolay Y3llowb1ackbird The IRS treats it as property, but the IRS does not choose how words are defined. According to definition, Bitcoin is a currency.
    In Argentina, when the peso collapsed, the people began buying and selling goods with grain. Ford even sold cars for grain. Grain became the currency because it was a medium of exchange that was generally accepted.

  • nikolay

    Y3llowb1ackbird nikolay You should contact IRS then as they are not treating it as such.

  • Y3llowb1ackbird

    nikolay A currency is nothing more than a medium of exchange. Bitcoin is a medium of exchange. Therefore, by definition, Bitcoin is a currency.

  • JonathanPitchfork

    I think it is more likely Apple were exploring setting up their own digital currency and have probably written off the idea in favour of later adopting an established technology wen the time is right.

  • talontech1

    I dislike apple intensely but it will be good to be able to tell some family members they can hopefully soon load Blockchain on their iPhones.  A huge part of the market will be more interested now.

  • nikolay

    You misread or are trying to manipulate. In the States, Bitcoin is not officially currency (virtual or not), but property. Spreading misinformation doesn’t do good to Bitcoin. On the contrary!

  • drewcordell9

    As an Iphone user, this is great to hear. I am tired of having to use blockchain from chrome.

About The Author

Josiah is a writer for CCN. A full-time high school history teacher, Josh enjoys exploring the cryptocurrency landscape in his spare time. He is particularly interested in experimenting with altcoins. Email him directly at JosiahWilmoth(at)