Apple addresses future of Grindr and Scruff after ‘hookup apps’ ban

Grindr on an Apple iPhone

Apple has clarified whether its updated Apple Store guidelines restricting certain “hookup apps” will include Grindr and Scruff.

Alarms were raised on Monday (8 June) after the tech giant issued new regulations for its App Store following the announcement of its iOS 15 operating system at its WWDC 2021 opening keynote.

The App Store guidelines have long told iPhone and iPad developers what kind of behaviour and activity the company will tolerate within its ecosystem, as well as what ones it would likely reject.

This time, Apple tightened the rules against apps with “pornographic” content, with guideline 1.1.4, which is listed under “Safety”, explicitly banning “hookup” apps that “may include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution”.

“Overtly sexual or pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as ‘explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings’,” the guideline reads.

The change comes alongside a raft of other tweaks that take aim at scammers and fraudsters and seek to boost privacy.

Will Grindr or Scruff be removed from the App Store?

Apple confirmed to Appleinsider that the new guidelines won’t amount to a crackdown on queer dating apps.

Apps such as Grindr or Scruff will in no way be impacted by guideline 1.1.4, it stressed.

Rather than target dating apps, the new guidelines will seek to block apps that use hookups as a cover for pornography, prostitution, or human trafficking.

Apple confirmed to the outlet that the new guidelines work to strengthen already existing rules around prostitution and pornography.

In doing so, Apple hopes to stop apps found to be using the apps for malicious intent.

The changes came in the wake of “recent scam app developments” that Apple has sought to stop spreading by strengthening its regulations.

Fears around the future of Grindr and Scruff, which have been operating on the Apple App Store for years, were first fuelled by the vagueness of the word guideline itself.