Apple has begun removing apps that make use of the CallKit framework from the App Store in China. The move comes in response to regulations from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Apple has started sending notices to developers who offer apps in China with CallKit integration. The notice explains that apps cannot offer CallKit functionality in China due to government regulations. In order for developers to make their application available on the China App Store, they must remove that CallKit integration. Alternatively, they can remove the application from China altogether.
Last summer, Apple was forced to remove VPN applications from the Chinese App Store, in a move to comply with local laws. That move was met with wide criticism, both from users and a handful of U.S. lawmakers who criticized the company for complying with a request from the Chinese government.
CallKit debuted alongside iOS 10, and allows developers to integrate their calling services with other call-related apps.
CallKit lets you integrate your calling services with other call-related apps on the system. CallKit provides the calling interface, and you handle the back-end communication with your VoIP service. For incoming and outgoing calls, CallKit displays the same interfaces as the Phone app, giving your app a more native look and feel. And CallKit responds appropriately to system-level behaviors such as Do Not Disturb.
Chinese officials likely requested the removal of CallKit-enabled apps from the country’s App Store due to the VoIP functionalities included in the framework. The government there frowns upon VoIP apps, as it allows Chinese citizens to make phone calls without fear of being monitored by their government.