SAN FRANCISCO – Apple approved an updated version of Telegram's messaging service, a day after Telegram complained that it had been prevented from obtaining software improvements in the hands of iPhone owners around the world.
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced he turned to Twitter, thanking Apple and CEO Tim Cook for getting the latest version of Telegram "for millions of users, despite recent setbacks."
On Thursday, Durov had said that Apple had refused to allow updates to its app store since April. So far, Apple has resisted a Russian request to completely eliminate the store's application, and the delay in the update raised concerns that Apple was mobilizing to appease the authorities there.
Without an update, not all Telegram features worked on the latest iPhone software, and Telegram also said it was in conflict with the new European data privacy laws.
If the ban had become permanent, Telegram would have become insecure over time since security flaws were discovered but the normal update process could not be fixed.
Neither Apple nor Telegram explained the reason for the previous lack of approval or revocation. On Friday, Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
Apple's control over applications in its store allows it to inspect and approve or disapprove each new version, including updates that solve minor technical problems. If you do not approve an updated version of the software, it can not be distributed through the App Store.
"Russia banned Telegram on its territory in April because we refused to provide decryption keys for all communications from our users to Russian security agencies." Durov said on Thursday. The Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) said it needed to protect itself against security threats.
After Russia's decision to block the popular message service, protests in Moscow against what the protesters called internet censorship attracted thousands. Telegram is challenging the blockade in Russian courts.
Governments have intensified pressure on technology companies to more actively control content on more forms, including applications.
In China, Apple recently banned virtual private network applications and eliminated the New York Times from its digital market.
Apple has publicly said that it will notify developers when applications are removed at the government's request, that it will limit eliminations to specific countries when possible, and that from the second half of this year it would be noted in reports of periodic transparency the number of requests for removals of applications.
None of that would necessarily cover restrictions on updates.
Information from Joseph Menn in San Francisco, additional report by Jack Stubbs in London
The Telegram logo is seen on a screen of a smartphone in This illustration of the image. Photo: REUTERS / Ilya Naymushin