As many of you know, ProtonMail was previously scheduled to release today. However, we have had some issues getting our mobile app approved, specifically with the Apple App store. At the time of writing, our app still has not been approved for release. For certain technical and scheduling reasons, we need to be able to launch all features on all platforms simultaneously. Because of this, we will delay our release (iOS/Android/Custom Domains, etc) until we get app approval, which we are hoping will occur next week.
We did not anticipate getting delayed by this process, but the entire approval process turned out to be quite lengthy, especially since we needed to get permission from both the US and French governments. Even though ProtonMail is a Swiss company, Apple is a US company, so all apps provided through the app store must comply with US encryption export restrictions. This leads us to the surreal situation where software from a Swiss company needs US government approval to be distributed. We needed a similar approval from the French government to distribute the app in France.
To answer a commonly raised question today, we don’t believe the delay is related to the ongoing FBI case against Apple, but that case is very concerning to us and could have far reaching implications. We have asked some legal experts to review the case and see if releasing ProtonMail in the App or Play stores could have any privacy or security risks.
It is hard to estimate how much longer the approval process could take, but we are hoping that everything is completed next week as we have already submitted all of the relevant documentation. We want to thank all users for your patience and apologize for this unfortunate delay. In the event that approval is not granted soon, we will find other ways to distribute the apps to the ProtonMail community. If the process drags on too long, we will also make modifications on our side to allow us to release custom domains separately and earlier.
The ProtonMail Team