New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Bans iFixit Developer Account and Removes App After Apple TV Teardown

After the new fourth-generation Apple TV was announced on September 9, Apple provided developers with Apple TV Dev Kits to be used to create tvOS apps for the device. Teardown site iFixit took apart one of those Apple TV units meant for developers and has now run into some repercussions for doing so.

According to a post on the iFixit blog, the teardown, which unveiled all of the internal components of the new Apple TV, violated Apple's terms and conditions. As a result, iFixit's developer account was banned, leading to the removal of the iFixit app from the App Store.

ATV4-Teardown
iFixit's Apple TV unit was sent directly from Apple with the same restrictions placed on Apple TV units sent to other developers, but iFixit ignored the fine print. "We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway," reads the blog post.
A few days later, we got an email from Apple informing us that we violated their terms and conditions--and the offending developer account had been banned. Unfortunately, iFixit's app was tied to that same account, so Apple pulled the app as well. Their justification was that we had taken "actions that may hinder the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program, or the Program."

Live and learn.
With the iFixit app removed from the Apple Store, iFixit is instead planning to revamp its mobile website and does not have plans to rewrite the app. The decision to focus on the iFixit mobile site came before the app was pulled by Apple, so it was not a huge loss to iFixit. The site says the app was outdated and riddled with bugs caused by iOS 9.

Following the release of Apple TV Developer Kits, many other developers shared photos, unboxings, and feature tidbits about the device. It is unknown if Apple has also contacted these developers about non-disclosure violations.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

10 months ago
Maybe I'm naive, but I don't feel bad for iFixit. They signed a deal, and then went back on the deal. That means that their professional word is meaningless. Sorry, but where I come from, a promise is a promise, especially involving a business contract. "We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway" is unacceptable, because that means that they feel that they're above the people with whom they made agreements.

Also, shame on them for saying that their app was "riddled with bugs caused by iOS9." That's a cop-out from a developer that was just too lazy to keep their app current. If you're going to be a liar, and lazy, at least be adult enough to own it instead of blaming others for your POOR work ethic and lack of integrity.
Rating: 223 Votes
10 months ago
Thanks iFixit however, you guys should have really respected Apple's NDA.
Rating: 117 Votes
10 months ago
Thank you Apple!

Finally nice that they put the foot down on these companies. You agree to a NDA and broke it. They are lucky they aren't heavily fined.

It's not hard to wait for a production unit and tear it down then.
Rating: 85 Votes
10 months ago
If it's in the terms and conditions, they deserve it.
Rating: 84 Votes
10 months ago
This is incredibly petty of Apple. It's not like iFixIt showing us the guts of the Apple TV hurt them in any way.

It sounds like this is them "making an example out of" iFixIt to scare other devs into following the agreements to the letter. Still, pretty petty in my opinion. iFixIt contributes a lot to the community.
Rating: 57 Votes
10 months ago
"The site says the app was outdated and riddled with bugs caused by iOS 9 ('http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/ios-9/')."

Butt.
Hurt.
Rating: 44 Votes
10 months ago

They didn't do anything that hurts Apple. They received a developer unit, then posted a teardown. They likely reassembled it and it probably still works fine, so I doubt they "destroyed" something they were given for free to show the teardown.

If this had been a free pre-release iPhone and they had filmed drop tests and other obvious things to show they only got it to destroy it and not to use it for development, that would be different. But all they did was take it apart and snap some photos.


It's not really up to you to measure if something adequately "hurts Apple." Either you respect a contract you signed, or you don't. I guess your word is ALSO mud since you seem to think things like NDAs and contracts are up for debate AFTER you sign them.
Rating: 38 Votes
10 months ago
Not really surprised. If they'd waited and bought one after it had been released publicly, they'd have been fine.

Sucks.
Rating: 38 Votes
10 months ago

This is incredibly petty of Apple. It's not like iFixIt showing us the guts of the Apple TV hurt them in any way.

It sounds like this is them "making an example out of" iFixIt to scare other devs into following the agreements to the letter. Still, pretty petty in my opinion. iFixIt contributes a lot to the community.


Gotta say, it seems to me like a pretty egregious violation. It's also a fairly dishonest use of the lottery system, taking an advance box meant for developers out of the hands of an actual developer just to drive web traffic.
Rating: 37 Votes
10 months ago

I guess I can understand - they were giving out free AppleTV's for dev's to use, and iFixit just took their's apart.

I'm not sure how anyone could have misconstrued that, even setting aside the issue of violating the NDA. The idea is to have early access so you can test your apps, not so you can be first to post a teardown.

I believe that iFixit provides a useful service to the world. But they played with fire on this one and got burned. And from the quote in the original post, it sounds like they fully understand that themselves.
Rating: 34 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]