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I had always thought the answer to this was no. I have an app that was pulled from the iOS App Store (VLC) still on my non-jailbroken phone and thought this was proof that Apple can't remote wipe an app. But I just heard a claim that they can remote wipe apps installed via their app purchase portals if they choose.

Is this true? True for just iOS apps or just App Store apps?

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you should not confuse 'remotely delete an app' and 'remove an app from sale' – pre May 4 '12 at 17:43
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, it's true Apple can remotely delete apps. This is a failsafe in case a nefarious app accidentally makes it past the review process. Not sure about Mac App store, I doubt the ability exists there. It's a different installation/update process.

I don't think it's been done before, and I wouldn't worry about it. It's a good thing. I would want an app that say sniffs my credit card numbers or is actually a trojan horse of some kind to be removed from my iPhone post haste.

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+1 for link and sharing the rationale. – msanford Feb 26 '11 at 4:56

I think it might be possible. You never know until it happens. If I were in a company that screened all sold applications so closely, then I'd keep the option available. Someone could slip a harmful app through the screening process, and if you could remote wipe all the bad apps, then you wouldn't loose rep for it. :D

But as you say yourself, they haven't deleted apps like VLC, I have it too on my iOS. Besides, if you sync apps to your itunes, you always have a hard copy of them in your iTunes library, so don't know if wiping would help :D

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you should not confuse 'remotely delete an app' and 'remove an app from sale' – pre May 4 '12 at 17:43

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