In response to a government request, Apple has removed WhatsApp, Threads, and several other apps from the App Store in China.

Meta’s messaging apps and other foreign chat platforms, such as Telegram and Signal, were no longer downloadable on iPhones within the country.

Apple stated that the removal was at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China. In a statement, Apple emphasized its commitment to adhering to the laws of the countries in which it operates, even in cases where there may be disagreement.

Chinese officials and Apple did not provide detailed information on why the apps were unavailable. However, the country cited “national security concerns” as the primary factor. Recent regulations mandated developers register with the government, and failure to do so resulted in the removal of their apps.


Experts speculated that many more apps could be removed in compliance with these rules, mainly since the recent deadline of April 1st has passed.

The apps in question are not particularly popular in China, where the dominant messaging platform is WeChat, developed by the Chinese company Tencent.

Other Meta apps, such as Facebook, remained accessible through the App Store despite the ban on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Threads. Additionally, the ban did not extend to other social networking applications.

Whatsapp on Apple

Previously, Chinese users could download WhatsApp and similar apps. Still, they could only use them with virtual private network (VPN) assistance due to China’s “Great Firewall” blocking the internet services necessary for their operation.

Previously, Meta and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, sought to engage with the Chinese government in hopes of expanding into the country. However, the company has yet to obtain official permission to operate in China.

For an extensive period, Apple has heavily depended on China, both for manufacturing and for a significant portion of its customer base. Nonetheless, recent months have witnessed a decline in sales within the country.

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