Telegram CEO Says Apple Refuses to Update App After Russian Blockade
The CEO of the secure-messaging app Telegram is not happy with Apple. And now he’s talking publicly about it.
In a tweet and Telegram message on Thursday, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov accused Apple of preventing Telegram from updating its iOS apps despite some of the features inside the program not working properly. He said that Apple started the update ban nearly two months ago when Russia banned the messaging service from the country.
“While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram’s userbase, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April,” Durov wrote. He added that his company is working to “resolve the situation” and promised to keep users updated on the progress.
Telegram, which has 200 million monthly active users, has caught the ire of Russia and other governments around the world that fight back against secure apps that make it nearly impossible for law enforcement to access user content. In Telegram’s case, the app allows users to engage in encrypted communication that can’t be decrypted by third parties, including law enforcement.
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In April, Russia demanded that Telegram hand over encryption keys that would have allowed the government to decrypt encrypted messages and peer on user conversations. The Kremlin said that it wanted to use the keys to monitor terrorist threats, but Durov and privacy advocates feared it would infringe upon user privacy.
Since then, Durov said, his company has been updating Telegram with new features and bug fixes. Google has allowed those updates to be made, but Apple, Durov said, has not.
As of this writing, Telegram’s listing on Apple’s App Store says it hasn’t been updated in two months. On the Google Play marketplace where Android users can download the app, the last update release is listed as May 26.
Apple did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on Durov’s claims.