Amid a contentious dispute with the Russian government over demands to pull telegram from the app store, Apple released an updated version of the messaging app on Friday after seemingly blocking these changes for two months.
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov in a post to his Twitter account on Friday publicly thanked Apple and CEO Tim Cook for issuing the update despite "recent setbacks".
A day earlier, Durov claimed that Apple was actively blocking global updates after the Russian authorities ordered the company to remove Telegram from the App Store. Although Apple has not responded or agreed to the request, there are global telegram updates stuck in the review process since April.
For Durov, Apple's inaction signaled a preventive adherence to Russia, which banned the app from its territory at about the same time that the flow of updates ceased.
Without the ability to update its software, Telegram was unable to make changes to make the app fully compliant with the European Union's General Privacy Laws. Users starting Apple's iOS 11.4 this week ran the risk of having problems with the app because it was not optimized for the latest operating system version.
Whether the approval of the update represents an opposition from Apple to comply with the Russian ban is unclear. The company has not commented on the telegram debacle since the topic was released in April.
Telegram's problems began when developers refused to provide encryption keys to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) that would allow the espionage agency to intercept messages sent over the service. In mid-April, Russian communications attendant Roskomnadzor successfully obtained court-approved ban on the app, although it was more difficult than expected to shutdown due to the widespread use of VPNs.
In an attempt to stop its proliferation, Roskomnadzor asked both Apple and Google to get telegrams from their respective app stores. A second letter was sent to Apple earlier this month requesting that it stop the Telegram Messenger app from being distributed on the App Store and send its service push notifications to Russian users. The body gives Apple a month to comply, but leveled a threat to stop all App Store distribution if requirements were not met.
Apple praises itself as a bastion of free speech and expression, but its work in monastic countries such as Russia and China has put these claims to the test. In China, for example, Apple has removed VPN apps, Western media from its regional app store and recently completed a transition from iCloud accounts to local servers at the behest of the government.