In another seemingly controversial App Store approval decision, Apple has forced iPhone developers to remove functionality that allows users to "free memory" on demand.
While third parties are limited from developing background applications for the iPhone, Apple allows their applications such as the iPod, Safari, and Mail applications to continue to run. After prolonged use, these background applications may take up most of the memory (RAM) on the iPhone that can create interface sluggishness and prevent some memory-intensive applications from loading. Applications such as iStat for iPhone (App Store link) have until now enabled users to free this memory with the click of a button.
When asked for comment, Bjango gave the following account of Apple's request:
Apple simply called us and demanded we remove the "free memory" feature. They wouldn't give a reason as to why it had to be removed. We basically had a choice between removing it or having the app deleted by apple if we didn't. Neither were great solutions but we talked with as many of our users as we could and more of them wanted updates then the free memory feature so thats the route we took.
Bjango explains that the "free memory" feature accomplishes its task by allocating memory until the iPhone OS detects critically low memory levels and terminates the other background processes.
Free Memory's developer suggests that users wishing to avoid a complete device restart force quit Mail, Safari, and iPod if necessary by holding down the sleep-wake button until the red slider appears and then holding the home button until the application quits.
Apple's App Store approval process has recently come under scrutiny from the press and even the FCC. Apple has not returned our request for comment.