Apple's Operating Systems Are Malware
Malware means software designed to function in ways that mistreat or harm the user. (This does not include accidental errors.) This page explains how the software in Apple's computer products are malware.
Malware and nonfree software are two different issues. The difference between free software and nonfree software is in whether the users have control of the program or vice versa. It's not directly a question of what the program does when it runs. However, in practice nonfree software is often malware, because the developer's awareness that the users would be powerless to fix any malicious functionalities tempts the developer to impose some.
Here's how Apple's systems are malware.
- Type of malware
- Back doors
- Digital restrictions management or “DRM” means functionalities designed to restrict what users can do with the data in their computers.
- Jails—systems that impose censorship on application programs.
- Tyrants—systems that reject any operating system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.
Apple Back Doors
The iPhone has a back door that allows Apple to remotely delete apps which Apple considers “inappropriate”. Jobs said it's OK for Apple to have this power because of course we can trust Apple.
The iPhone has a back door for remote wipe. It's not always enabled, but users are led into enabling it without understanding.
This particular political slant affects other Apple services.
The wrongs in this section are not precisely malware, since they do not involve making the program that runs in a way that hurts the user. But they are a lot like malware, since they are technical Apple actions that harm to the users of specific Apple software.
An Apple firmware “upgrade” bricked iPhones that had been unlocked. The “upgrade” also deactivated applications not approved by Apple censorship. All this was apparently intentional.
iThings automatically upload to Apple's servers all the photos and videos they make.
iCloud Photo Library stores every photo and video you take, and keeps them up to date on all your devices. Any edits you make are automatically updated everywhere. [...]
There is a way to deactivate iCloud, but it's active by default so it still counts as a surveillance functionality.
Apple has made various MacOS programs send files to Apple servers without asking permission. This exposes the files to Big Brother and perhaps to other snoops.
It also demonstrates how you can't trust proprietary software, because even if today's version doesn't have a malicious functionality, tomorrow's version might add it. The developer won't remove the malfeature unless many users push back hard, and the users can't remove it themselves.
Various operations in the latest MacOS send reports to Apple servers.
Spyware in MacOS: Spotlight search sends users' search terms to Apple.
The iBeacon lets stores determine exactly where the iThing is, and get other info too.
Apple can, and regularly does, remotely extract some data from iPhones for the state.
DRM (digital restrictions mechanisms) in MacOS. This article focuses on the fact that a new model of Macbook introduced a requirement for monitors to have malicious hardware, but DRM software in MacOS is involved in activating the hardware. The software for accessing iTunes is also responsible.
DRM that caters to Bluray disks. (The article focused on Windows and said that MacOS would do the same thing subsequently.)
iOS, the operating system of the Apple iThings, is a jail for users. That means it imposes censorship of application programs.
Apple has used this power to censor all bitcoin apps for the iThings.
Apple, in the iThings, pioneered the practice of general purpose computers that are jails, and the term comes from iThing users, who referred to escaping from the censorship as “jailbreaking.”
Here is an article about the code signing that the iThings use to jail the user.
Apple arbitrarily blocks users from installing old versions of iOS.
The iThings are tyrant devices: they do not permit installing a different or modified operating system. There is a port of Android to the iThings, but installing it requires finding a bug or “exploit” to make it possible to install a different system.