Apple is Defective by Design

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All Apple products impose DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) that takes control of your music, movies, shows and games away from you. Even though it's possible to download DRM-free music through iTunes, its streaming music and rental movies and show have DRM. Apple even uses DRM to prevent Macs from playing video on "unauthorized" displays.

Despite this disregard for its users, Apple is one of the best-known technology companies in the world. Help fight the hype by taking action and learning more about Apple's wrongdoing.

Take Action

  • Email Apple CEO Tim Cook (tcook@apple.com, CC campaigns@fsf.org) and tell him that you'll never buy an Apple device unless the company chucks its unethical restrictions. See a sample email.
  • Share our graphic: 5 reasons to never buy an Apple Watch:

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5 reasons to never buy an Apple Watch
Download SVG source. Free fonts used: Catenary Stamp and Source Sans.

More reasons Apple is bad for computer users

Apple, not you, controls what you can install on mobile devices

Apple corporate headquarters keeps a tight lock on the apps available for its mobile operating system (iOS), which is used on the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod and iPad. Software developers even have to pay a tax to Apple to publish their work in the App Store.

Apple also prevents you from changing the operating system on the devices, so there's no way to escape the restrictions. If you try to change the software on your device, Apple's lawyers claim you are a criminal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Apple argues these measures are for "security." Security expert Bruce Schneier says that "With iPhone, 'Security' Is Code for 'Control'."

Apple is a patent bully and hostile to developers

Apple continually amasses patents, simply so that it can threaten other developers with lawsuits if they create something vaguely similar to an Apple program, even by accident. Apple's aggression chills innovation in the world of software (especially free software), because developers are afraid of getting on Apple's bad side.

Learn more:

  • Apple patents anything it can, even things that seem obvious, like turning pages in ebooks.
  • Apple and Samsung are locked in a protracted patent battle that damages users' freedom.
  • In addition to its patent aggression, Apple doesn't not publish the set of conventions, or "API", through which its products and iTunes communicate. Rather, they change it constantly. In many cases the only goal of these changes is to make it hard for developers to access Apple services with third-party applications.

Apple's App Store only allows restrictively licensed software

As part of its micromanaging of the apps available for iOS, Apple censors all free software. Additionally, iTunes, which comes with desktop and mobile devices, refuses to play media in free formats like Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora.

Apple devices threaten your privacy

Apple operates a network of services for managing contacts, calendars and correspondence across all its devices. This amounts to a huge vacuum sucking up users' personal information and storing it in a centralized server farms that are vulnerable to attacks. And since the software running on people's Apple devices is proprietary, no one except Apple can audit it and know exactly what it is sending to the mothership.

Learn more:

More Apple resources

A sample email to Tim Cook

Send to tcook@apple.com, CC campaigns@fsf.org. This sample is based on a message written by a supporter, Ben Weissmann.

Mr. Cook,

It's true that iOS devices are powerful and easy to use. However, one of the most exciting things about smartphones is the ability to run a large variety of applications on them. You have provided a way to do this via the "App Store." I was extremely disappointed to find out that Apple is using digital restrictions management (DRM) to restrict the freedom of those who choose to use the App Store by forcing all applications to be signed by Apple and be subjected to a ridiculous license that prohibits creators of application from using a free software license. Even worse, you have used DRM to ensure that the only way to install applications for iOS devices is through the App Store.

I see no reason why you would not allow developers to use a free software license for their application. It would be as ridiculous as if you did the same thing on OS X. Developers should be free to license their software under any terms they please. Apple products should not include DRM or prohibit users from installing software not signed by Apple. There is no reason not to allow users to install application via methods other than the App Store. Even proprietary phones such as Windows Mobile phones allow the installation of free software, at least partially protecting the freedom of their users.

I will not purchase or support the Apple devices until changes are made so that I can use them without sacrificing my freedom. I will encourage others to opt for devices that respect the freedom of their users. Apple needs to understand that potential users will not accept these restrictions. My freedom is more important than any device you could ever make. Please, allow eliminate DRM from all your devices, and allow iOS products to run free software.

Sincerely,
Your Name

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