Apple Lifts Ban on BitTorrent Apps, Or So It Seems

Ever since the inception of the App Store, Apple has notoriously banned all apps related to BitTorrent. However, those who conduct a search for BitTorrent in the App Store today will be surprised to see that Apple returns two search results. One app allows users to control the mufti-platform BitTorrent client Transmission and the other one does the same for uTorrent. This begs the question, did Apple lift its BitTorrent ban?

Over the past years dozens of apps have been rejected from the App Store because they mention the word BitTorrent.

Apple defended this policy and told developers that their apps were not allowed “because this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third-party rights.”

This BitTorrent aversion is also one of the main reasons why popular BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent, Vuze and Transmission don’t have an Apple-approved presence on the iPhone and iPad.

However, last week “Conttrol” was added to the App Store. The application allows uTorrent users to interact with their desktop client through the Web-UI in order to start, stop, add or delete torrents.

“Currently the app supports connections to uTorrent & BitTorrent clients but there are future plans to support Transmission on the Mac, as well as planned development of a native iPad version,” Conttrol developer Craig Donnelly told TorrentFreak.

While other BitTorrent apps slipped by Apple’s review team for a day or two, Conttrol’s entrance into the App store is not an isolated incident. A few months ago Apple also blessed Transmission RPC, a remote control for the Transmission popular client.

An interesting development to say the least.

It’s worth pointing out that neither app allows users to download files to the iPhone or iPad, they merely serve as a remote interface for desktop clients. However, that didn’t prevent Apple from issuing a publication ban on similar apps in the past.

Could it be that Apple has lifted its BitTorrent ban, or were these apps given the green light by mistake?

Conttrol developer Craig Donnelly told TorrentFreak that he hopes Apple changed its tune after realizing that there are many perfectly legal uses for BitTorrent.

“We all know there is a stigma associated with the BitTorrent protocol and that it is heavily associated with piracy. But I think this attitude has changed in recent years, and will change even further in the future.”

Earlier this week BitTorrent Inc. released their first mobile uTorrent client for Android. The company told TorrentFreak that there are no concrete plans for an iOS version of uTorrent, but perhaps that will change if Apple keeps accepting BitTorrent apps.

Time will tell…

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