Apple could be forced to let people uninstall the Photos app

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Much to many companies’ disdain, the EU has introduced the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This is a set of rules making sure that large companies do not become gatekeepers of certain technologies and stifle fair competition. The DMA has been a thorn in Apple’s side, as the company has had to make some rather large changes to its operations in the EU. Well, according to a new report, Apple might be required to let users uninstall the Photos app in the EU.

So far, one of the biggest changes Apple has had to make is allowing third-party companies to offer their own app stores on iOS. Since its creation, the Apple App Store has been the only place to download apps for iPhones and iPads. Well, this is something that the EU deems as gatekeeping. So far, several companies have announced their own iOS app stores.

That’s just one example of the kinds of changes that Apple has had to make in the EU. Since Apple is such a large company, it’s likely to brush up against the DMA many more times as time goes on.

Apple may have to let EU customers uninstall the Photos app

While there are plenty of third-party options for camera roll applications on iOS, the native Photos app is the primary option. As you can imagine, it is deeply integrated into iOS, and almost all users access their camera roll through it.

Well, EU competition head Margrethe Vestager said in a statement that “Apple [has] failed to make several apps un-installable (one of them would be Photos).” Because of this, the company may technically be in violation of the DMA. As such, it’s possible that Apple could be forced to let users uninstall the photos app in the EU. However, there are no statements officially pointing to this. There’s just a possibility that the EU could look into it.

This may push things too far

We’ve seen the EU do a lot of good to make sure that other companies have a chance of competing in several markets. However, if it does force Apple to let users uninstall the Photos app, it might be pushing things a little too far.

John Gruber, a writer for Daring Fireball, said in a statement, “Photos is not just an app on iOS; it’s the system-level interface to the camera roll.” This is true. It’s the same for most Android devices. Most Android devices use Google Photos as the default photo picker and camera roll application. While third-party applications can play this role, Google Photos is the system-level application.

Gruber continues, “[Photos] is integrated throughout the entire iOS system, with per-app permission prompts to grant differing levels of access to your photos.” So, letting users uninstall photos will be like letting users uninstall a core part of the iOS operating system. It could create major complications on Apple’s end. It is a “monumental demand,” according to Gruber.

If this happens, then Apple may have to take drastic measures

According to the report, some people may have been floating the idea that Apple could stop selling iPhones in the EU. If so, then that will be a massive blow to those countries. Sure, there is a huge iOS vs. Android War going on. However, in all honesty, iPhones make up a large part of the smartphone culture globally. It’s a driving force of innovation and it definitely plays a large role in the smartphone culture in the EU. The EU market consists of about 450 million iPhone users. It makes up about 7% of Apple’s global revenue. So, it’s not possible that this would go without monumental pushback.

If Apple is in violation of the DMA, then it could be fined up to 10% of its Global Revenue. Strictly speaking numbers, getting rid of 7% of its revenue by cutting ties with the EU will have a smaller Financial impact than being fined a full 10%. However, it’s not about the numbers.

Hopefully, the EU does not force Apple to stop selling iPhones in Europe. Out of the 450 million people, we know that countless individuals use iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers to run their lives.

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