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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > F.lux developers pull sideloaded app following Apple's complaint

F.lux developers pull sideloaded app following Apple's complaint
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Nov 13, 2015, 09:42 AM
 
The creators of F.lux for iOS have been asked to pull the download from their website by Apple, for violating its Developer Program Agreement. Previously only accessible on iOS for jailbroken devices, the app was recently made available to install via sideloading to normal iOS installations, but Apple objected and requested the app be pulled from view, preventing anyone else from being able to install it at all.

F.lux is an app that automatically alters the brightness and coloring of a display over the course of a day, in an attempt to allow the user to sleep better. The desktop version of the software has been downloaded more than 15 million times so far, with the iOS sideloaded version also proving popular with a claimed 176,000 visits in its first 24-hours of availability.



Xcode 7, Apple's development suite, added a change to the permissions required to build and run apps on local devices, permitting a process called "sideloading." This was intended to be a way for developers to test out their apps on target devices without spending $99 per year on a developer account, though the process opened itself up to potential abuse. "We understood that the new Xcode signing was designed to allow such a use, but Apple indicated that this should not continue," advises the F.lux website.

As for why it cannot be offered through the App Store like other apps, the developers note it is an ongoing concern. "F.lux cannot ship an iOS app using the Documented APIs, because the APIs we use are not there.," writes the team. "In the last five years, we have had numerous conversations with Apple about our product and what would be required to make it work with iOS. We respect Apple's products enormously, and we urge Apple to allow work like ours to continue through Documented APIs."
     
mr100percent
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Nov 13, 2015, 11:19 AM
 
So whats the point of sideloading then if Apple is going to object?

Besides, you can take the open-source code, compile it youself and install it. It's already in Github and anyone who downloads Xcode can install it.
     
prl99
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Nov 13, 2015, 11:35 AM
 
I believe the main concern is its use of non documented APIs. Apple had good intentions when making a change to Xcode that would benefit developers but I can see that change being pulled because of this abuse. The ease of getting non-documented APIs into an iOS app means everything for malware programmers.
     
bobolicious
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Nov 13, 2015, 12:16 PM
 
...and the hate-love relationship with Apple continues...
Health apps? Really? Fix the most basic things first...?
     
chimaera
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Nov 13, 2015, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by prl99 View Post
I believe the main concern is its use of non documented APIs. Apple had good intentions ... but I can see that change being pulled because of this abuse.
Doesn't seem likely Apple will pull the feature back. This use isn't abusive, no one has claimed F.lux does anything nasty. It's a technical violation, using an internal API to adjust the display white point and brightness. All Apple needs to do is publicly document the APIs they use.
     
Charles Martin
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Nov 13, 2015, 11:25 PM
 
Apple made it clear when they introduced sideloading that it was for developer use only, not for public distribution. The guys at f.lux either didn't pay attention or decided to risk it, and this is the consequence. I want f.lux for iOS, but since they couldn't play by the rules, it looks like its now going to be a LOT longer before we get a legit version.
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Spheric Harlot
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Nov 13, 2015, 11:42 PM
 
Why do you think it will take a lot longer now? The point is that there was no way to make a legit version, since the API used wasn't public. There was no intention to make it public, as far as we know, but the demand for f.lux might actually convince Apple to make it public, or to include similar functionality themselves, no?

And if not, the net effect is still zero.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Nov 14, 2015, 02:16 AM
 
I've been hoping this app would come to iOS for a long time now.

5 years... wow. Figures.... a health-related app that *could* make a difference, and Apple is too dense to recognize it.
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panjandrum
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Nov 15, 2015, 05:39 PM
 
Love this little app. It's one of the reasons I'm still on iOS 8.xxxx on my iPhone (that and a number of other features I can't do without that are only available via. Cydia.) I recently upgraded my iPad to iOS 9 and really miss this. It was great for reading Kindle books at night. Why in the world won't Apple allow basic functionality like this on their devices? Heck, they could just cut a deal with the devs to include it in the iOS and part of the feature-set of the phone... Maybe "too yellow" doesn't fit the (debatable) aesthetic sensibilities of a certain person at Apple?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Nov 15, 2015, 06:26 PM
 
@ panjandrum - I think 1) it's just not on their radar. Sales are great, so Apple doesn't have to pay much attention to the outside world. 2) Though Apple is now somewhat focused on health stuff, unfortunately, they are focused on aspects that are kind of out of date. So, this blue-light reduction stuff is probably kind of whoo-whoo stuff to them.

And, you might be onto something about the aesthetics aspect, but I think it's more they simply aren't paying attention.
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