New Delhi: The central government on Monday evening banned 59 Chinese apps, in a significant action to retaliate over the recent border tension between India and China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, as they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. Also Read - G7 Summit 2021: Leaders Pledge to Deliver on Vaccines, Climate; Call Out China on Right Abuses | 10 Points

While the move has been touted by those in support of the ‘Boycott China’ protest, it poses a few difficulties for smartphone users. Here are some frequently asked questions: Also Read - 12 Dead, Over 100 Injured in Massive Gas Explosion in China; Rescue Ops Underway

What will happen to the apps already installed on my phone? Also Read - New Coronavirus Found In Bats In China. Details Here

As soon as the Google (Android) and Apple receive copies of the government order, the 59 apps banned will be removed from Google Play Store as well as iOS App Store.

Government officials are already in talks with Indian internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom service providers (TSPs) to block all data traffic with these apps. This means that once the procedure is completed, these apps will become non-functional by default.

Should I delete these Chinese apps right away?

Although it is not illegal if you do not delete the app, there will be no further developer support and updates for the banned apps. The internet access will be blocked on all Indian networks due to cybersecurity threats, so the apps will become inoperable.

Without these critical security patches and developer support, it is advised for users to not retain any of these apps.

What are the alternatives available to the banned apps?

There are plenty of alternative apps to the Chinese one on both – Google Play Store and Apple’s iOS App Store – so users need not worry about the quality. For instance, for alternative browsers, Google Chrome is among the best-rated ones. For scanning documents, users can easily shift to Google Drive or Adobe Scan etc, instead of CamScanner.

Here’s a list of alternatives

I have a Xiaomi smartphone, what will happen?

Yes, the government has banned a few pre-installed Mi (Xiaomi) apps like Mi community and Mi video call. However, Mi users need not worry at present as their phone services and essential apps will remain functional.

What happens next?

Companies like Bytedance, that runs social media platform TikTok, and Xiaomi, a leading smartphone brand in India, will face significant impact once these apps are banned as their sales run into millions. More than 50 per cent of their user base was in India, as a result of which the ban can have a long-term cascading effect on the Chinese companies.

Notably, apart from the violent clash between Indian and Chinese army in Galwan Valley that escalated the situation, there has already been an ongoing global conversation regarding China’s alleged attempt to snoop in on user data risking cybersecurity and privacy.

Recently, many countries have Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile network infrastructure, or at least have been reluctant on allowing it for the same reasons.