Has Apple banned sexual content from App Store?

Apple has removed "overtly sexual" content from its App Store after receiving customer complaints, according to a TechCrunch report. But just how far do those removals go?

Apple may be in the process of removing "overtly sexual" content from its App Store, according to a TechCrunch report.

The developer behind "Wobble iBoobs," an adult-themed application, told TechCrunch that his application has been taken down. Apple reportedly told the developer in a letter that the decision to remove the app is part of a larger plan to remove sexual content from the store.

"Your application, Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored), contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution," Apple's letter to the developer read, according to TechCrunch. "However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately. We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your application."

Apple iTunes
Apple's message that apps aren't available. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

The app is currently not available in the App Store.

The removal of the app doesn't seem to be an isolated incident. On Friday morning, I searched the App Store for several adult-themed applications to see whether they were still available. In the vast majority of cases, they were not.

The most notable removals include applications from Grindhouse Mobile, the developer behind the first "porn star apps" in the App Store. The applications, which were approved in September and did not show any nudity, are still listed as available in Apple's App Store on the Grindhouse Web site. But after clicking their direct links, a message generated by the App Store reads that the applications are no longer available.

Grindhouse Mobile confirmed the app's removal with me on Friday and said it will comment more later in the day.

Although several applications have seemingly been removed, it's worth noting that a slew of sexually charged apps still remain in the App Store--including the e-reader app that Apple originally rejected because it provided access to the Kama Sutra.

For its part, Apple is staying tight-lipped. The company wouldn't tell me that it has changed its App Store policy. Instead, a representative responded to my query on the issue by stating that customer complaints play a role when Apple decides to remove an application.

"Whenever we receive customer complaints about objectionable content we review them," the Apple representative wrote to me in an e-mail. "If we find these apps contain inappropriate material we remove them and request the developer make any necessary changes in order to be distributed by Apple."

But that doesn't answer the question. Is Apple banning sexual content from the App Store? Judging by its response and the company's history of staying tight-lipped on App Store regulations, we may never exactly know for sure.

Updated at 7:40 a.m. PST with comment from Grindhouse.

 

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