Apple's iOS 13.6 enables FaceTime in the United Arab Emirates
With its latest iOS 13.6 update, Apple appears to have quietly enabled FaceTime in the United Arab Emirates.
Previously, local UAE regulations completely blocked the use of FaceTime in the country. In 2018, however, Apple was said to be in talks with UAE government officials about lifting the years-long ban.
iOS 13.6 is out and it's official... FACETIME IS AVAILABLE IN UAE. Now I can recieve my phone calls on all my devices !— Saif Alshehhi (@saif_a7med95) July 15, 2020
It's worth noting that Apple didn't announce the introduction of UAE FaceTime support in iOS 13.6. There was no mention of it in Apple's iOS 13.6 release notes. Additionally, the company's support document has not yet been updated to reflect the change.
The long-standing ban was due to FaceTime's use of end-to-end encryption, stymieing UAE communications monitoring protocols that are designed to curb terrorism and dissent. Although Apple products sold within the country had the feature disabled in software, FaceTime would work normally if a device was brought in from elsewhere.
In September 2018, Saudi Arabia also lifted a ban on FaceTime with Apple's iOS 11.3 update.