India to Crack Down on Pre-Installed Apps with New Rules

India wants phone makers to allow removal of pre-installed apps and mandate screening of major operating system updates.

India to remove Bloatware from Smartphones

India is set to introduce new security rules that will require smartphone makers to allow the removal of pre-installed apps or Bloatware and mandate screening of OS updates. This move is being made due to concerns over spying and abuse of user data, with explicit references made to the risk from China. 

According to a report from Reuters, the new rules will require smartphone makers to include an uninstall option for pre-installed apps. Additionally, new models will be checked for compliance by a lab authorized by the Bureau of Indian Standards agency. 

These rules are being considered by the Indian IT ministry as a matter of national security. An unnamed official stated that "pre-installed apps can be a weak security point, and we want to ensure no foreign nations, including China, are exploiting it."

Although Apple already allows many of its own apps to be deleted, core apps like Messages, Photos, and Phones cannot be deleted, only removed from the Home screen and hidden in the App Library. It is not clear at this stage how Apple will respond to the new rules, but it is likely to involve some changes to the operating system. Representatives from Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, and Apple reportedly attended a closed-door meeting to discuss the new rules.

Compliance Concerns for Smartphone Makers

Smartphone makers will reportedly have a year to comply with the new rules when they come into effect. However, there are concerns that compliance may delay launch timeframes for new smartphones and lead to business losses. 

Currently, it takes around 21 weeks for a smartphone and its parts to be tested by India's IT ministry for safety compliance.

The new security rules being introduced by India will have far-reaching implications for smartphone makers, including Apple. With concerns over spying and abuse of user data, the new rules are being considered a matter of national security. While compliance may lead to delays and business losses for smartphone makers, it is essential to ensure the safety and security of users' data.

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