Google Removes Its Own Data Collection App That It Got Past Apple

Mobile Apps

In a surprising turn of events, Google has been forced to remove its own data collection app, which it managed to bypass Apple’s strict app review process. The app, called “Screenwise Meter,” allowed Google to monitor users’ online activity in exchange for gift cards. However, it was discovered that the app violated Apple’s policies by using a special enterprise certificate meant for internal employee use.

This incident raises concerns about the extent to which tech giants can collect user data without proper consent. Although Google has apologized and claims that no personal data was collected, it serves as a reminder for users to be cautious when installing apps that track their online behavior. This article will delve into the deeper implications of data collection, the importance of privacy, and how users can protect themselves from such intrusions.

Inside This Article

  1. Google’s Data Collection App
  2. Apple’s App Store Policy
  3. Google’s App Violation and Removal by Apple
  4. Conclusion
  5. FAQs

Google’s Data Collection App

In a move that caught the attention of both tech enthusiasts and privacy advocates, Google recently launched a data collection app for iOS devices. This app, known as “Screenwise Meter,” aimed to gather valuable user data to help improve Google’s products and services. However, the app’s presence on Apple’s App Store was short-lived, as Apple swiftly removed it due to policy violations.

The Screenwise Meter app was designed to track and monitor users’ internet usage, app usage, and even their entire screen activity. By gaining access to this data, Google sought to gain a deeper understanding of user behavior and preferences, enabling them to deliver more customized and targeted experiences. This type of data collection is not uncommon in the tech industry, as many companies use it to enhance their products and user experiences.

However, in the case of the Screenwise Meter app, Google’s approach violated Apple’s strict App Store policies. These policies strictly prohibit any app from collecting user data without explicit permission and transparency. In essence, Google attempted to bypass Apple’s guidelines by using an enterprise certificate meant for internal employee use, rather than distributing the app through the traditional App Store process.

Apple swiftly responded to the violation by revoking Google’s enterprise certificate, effectively disabling all apps created by the tech giant. This action not only removed the Screenwise Meter app but also impacted other essential Google apps, such as maps and internal communication tools, causing significant disruption within Google’s organization.

The removal of Google’s data collection app highlights the ongoing battle between tech companies and user privacy. While data collection can be instrumental in improving products and services, it must be done with the utmost transparency and respect for user consent. Apple’s rigorous policies ensure that users have control over their data and can make informed choices about how it is collected and used.

Apple’s App Store Policy

Apple’s App Store is known for its strict policies and guidelines regarding app submissions. This stringent approach ensures that the apps available on the platform meet certain standards and provide a safe and secure experience for users.

One of the key aspects of Apple’s App Store policy is its emphasis on user privacy and data protection. Apple places a high value on safeguarding user information and has implemented strict guidelines to ensure that apps collect and handle data responsibly.

App developers are required to disclose the information they collect from users and provide clear explanations of how that data is used. This includes obtaining user consent before collecting any personal or sensitive information.

Furthermore, Apple strictly prohibits apps from sharing user data with third parties without explicit user consent. This ensures that users have control over their data and can make informed decisions about how it is shared.

In addition to privacy guidelines, Apple also enforces rules regarding app functionality and performance. Apps must be reliable, stable, and free of any bugs or crashes that can disrupt the user experience.

Apple’s App Store policies also place restrictions on app content, ensuring that apps do not contain offensive, inappropriate, or harmful materials. This includes explicit content, hate speech, illegal activities, and any content that violates intellectual property rights.

By adhering to these guidelines, Apple ensures that the apps available on its platform deliver a seamless and secure experience for users. This commitment to quality and user protection has made the App Store a trusted marketplace for millions of users around the world.

Google’s App Violation and Removal by Apple

In a surprising turn of events, Google’s data collection app was recently removed by Apple from its App Store due to a violation of its policies. This incident has raised concerns about the level of control that tech giants like Google have over user data and the measures taken by Apple to ensure user privacy and security.

The data collection app, known as “Screenwise Meter,” was designed by Google to collect user data in exchange for gift cards. Users who installed the app allowed Google to monitor their internet usage, including their browsing habits, app usage, and even the content of encrypted messages.

Apple has strict policies in place to protect user privacy and maintain the integrity of its App Store. Apps that violate these policies, such as those that collect and share sensitive user data without consent, are promptly removed from the platform. In the case of Google’s data collection app, it was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute and install the app on users’ devices, bypassing Apple’s App Store review process.

This violation was discovered after it was reported that Google had also violated Apple’s policies back in 2019 with a similar app called “Screenwise Trends.” At that time, Google had used the same enterprise certificate method to distribute the app, leading to its removal by Apple. However, it seems that Google attempted to sneak its data collection app onto users’ devices once again.

Apple’s swift response to this violation highlights its commitment to user privacy and the company’s determination to maintain strict control over the apps on its platform. By removing Google’s data collection app, Apple is sending a clear message that any attempt to bypass its review process and compromise user privacy will not be tolerated.

This incident brings into focus the broader issue of data collection and privacy in the digital age. Many users are unaware of the extent to which their data is being collected and used by tech companies. It serves as a reminder for both users and app developers to be vigilant about the permissions and access granted to apps, and the responsibility of companies to handle user data ethically.

While Google’s data collection app may no longer be available on the Apple App Store, it serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining control over the data we share and the need for transparency in app permissions and data collection practices. As users, it is crucial to be informed and cautious about the apps we use and the data we provide.

Overall, Apple’s removal of Google’s data collection app reaffirms its dedication to protecting user privacy and keeping a tight grip on the apps allowed on its platform. It serves as a vital reminder of the ongoing struggle between user privacy and data collection, and the crucial role that Apple plays in maintaining a balance between the two.


Google’s decision to remove its own data collection app, which it managed to get past Apple’s strict App Store guidelines, highlights the ongoing battle between these tech giants. With concerns about data privacy and user consent at the forefront, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in the mobile app industry.

While Google may have had its own reasons for creating the app, the fact that it violated Apple’s guidelines underscores the need for stronger measures to ensure that user data is protected. As mobile app usage continues to grow, it is crucial for developers to comply with industry standards and prioritize the privacy and security of user information.

As users, it is essential to be vigilant and mindful when granting permissions to mobile apps. Reading app reviews, understanding the data collection practices, and considering alternatives are all part of making informed decisions about app downloads.

The removal of this app serves as a reminder to both app developers and users alike that the mobile app landscape is constantly evolving, requiring constant attention to privacy and security measures.


1. What was the data collection app that Google got past Apple?

2. Why did Google remove its own data collection app?

3. How did Google manage to bypass Apple’s strict App Store guidelines?

4. What kind of data was Google collecting through the app?

5. Are there any other data collection apps on the market that may have similar methods?