Facebook says Apple is restoring a key developer tool

NEW YORK (AP) – Facebook said Apple is restoring its access to a key development tool that the iPhone maker disabled on Wednesday.

Late on Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook paid teens and other users who agreed to download an app called Facebook Research.

That app could extensively track their phone and web use. Apple said Facebook was abusing the tool, known as a developer enterprise certificate, to distribute the app on iPhones in a way that allowed the social network to sidestep Apple restrictions on data collection.

By revoking the certificate for the iOS software that powers the iPhone and iPad, Apple closed off Facebook’s efforts to sidestep Apple’s app store and its tighter rules on privacy.

Apple did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Thursday afternoon. Facebook did not say whether it agreed to any conditions for the certificate restoration.

In an internal memo sent on Wednesday, Facebook told employees it is “working closely” with Apple to reinstate access. It also told workers to install the public versions of apps from the app store.

Apps that it said “may not work” included internal versions of Facebook, Workplace, Instagram and the Ride app, which helps workers with transportation. WhatsApp was not affected.

While Facebook engineers could still write code and work on iPhone apps during the shutoff, their ability to test them in the field was limited.

In a statement, Facebook said it is “in the process of getting our internal apps up and running”. The company noted that the issue had no impact on its consumer services.