Apple iPhone users in Iran discovered yesterday that they are no longer able to access the App Store, according to Bleeping Computer. This appears to be a total block on the country. Apple doesn’t sell phones or operate the App Store in Iran, people in the country are still able to import Apple products from another country and set them up to access portions of the App Store that are meant to be used by other regions.
Apple seems to have closed this loophole where they are blocking any traffic coming from inside Iran and preventing them from accessing the App Store in any capacity. Users who have tried to access the App Store in Iran are now receiving a message reading, “The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you’re in.”
At this time, it’s not clear why Appl initiated this change, but it could be because of US sanctions on Iran, which President Trump enacted last year. Apple has not provided any official statement on this change, and didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
If this ban is indeed permanent, owners of iOS devices in the country can route their traffic through VPNs, which makes it appear that they’re in another country, in order to access the App Store. This will cause the devices to become harder to use.