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Apple Cutting Off Mac App Store Hotkey Apps as Sandboxing Requirement Goes Live on June 1? [Updated]

TUAW reports that Apple will be scaling back on systemwide "hotkey" apps, which allow users to call up other apps and functions, in the Mac App Store as of June 1, the same date the company's sandboxing requirements are scheduled to go into effect.
Apparently, Apple will allow hotkey apps that are already in the Mac App Store before June to offer only bug fixes after that. New sandboxed apps and any apps that add features (i.e. non-bugfix releases) will not be allowed to support hotkeys.

TUAW has been told that Apple will be rejecting all MAS apps with hotkey functionality starting June 1, regardless of whether the new features are hotkey related or not. Basically, if you're developing one of those apps, an app that assumes you can still add hotkeys, don't bother submitting it to the Mac App Store.
Various cross-scripting and macro apps will be affected by the change, which appears to be related to the sandboxing requirement that limits what applications can do on other parts of users' systems.

With the sandboxing requirement set to go into effect two weeks from now after several delays, a number of developers are undoubtedly working to make sure their apps are in compliance with the new rules. Just today, Pixelmator announced that it has updated its image-editing app to meet sandboxing requirements, making it one of the first high-profile apps to make the move.

Update: Macworld refutes the claim regarding hotkey apps, citing its own sources saying "such apps remain welcome in the cozy confines of Apple's software store."

Top Rated Comments

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65 months ago

Great news! I'm so happy Apple continues to lead the way in promoting world class security features across its technology platforms.

This isn't a world-class security feature. I would prefer for Apple to fix the security holes in the operating system, than doing this.
Rating: 17 Votes
65 months ago
Rating: 17 Votes
65 months ago

If they ever force third-party programs to be App Store only, I'm going back to Linux
Rating: 13 Votes
65 months ago

How DARE they make the OS more secure!

Or do you think that they should simply carve out great big holes in the only security measure (Sandboxing) that is proven effective in fighting malware?

The 99% of us who want a secure system frankly don't give a rat's ass about mildly inconveniencing a few lazy users. Sorry for the devs, but times move on.

So you'd be happy if Apple removed the TCP/IP stack to make the system more secure ? After all, without all those nasty TCP ports being open and those IP addresses and other transport protocols, no malware or exploit can talk to your machine!

Even better, how about Apple makes it so the Bootloader never actually loads the kernel. Without the kernel, userspace can't start, so all those nasty programs can't be loaded with their shoddy code to cause buffer overflows that may result in privilege escalations and denial of services!

But then again, the best would be a blank disk, so that the EFI can't even find a bootloader to begin with...


The problem with security and functionality is you can't have both. Sandboxing kills IPC. IPC is useful. Which would you rather have, a useless system with tons of security or a useful system where you have to be more careful ?

I'd rather be educated and careful and have an actual system I can use for something. Otherwise, I'd own an iPad.
Rating: 12 Votes
65 months ago

Can someone explains what hotkeys are?

Hotkeys are where apps "listen" for a certain key or combination of keys to be pressed. When they are pressed, the app does a certain action. It doesn't matter what app you pressed the keys from, the app listening will take action.

e.g. TextExpander listens for shortcuts to expand, it doesn't matter if you are in Firefox, Word or TextEdit, when you press the keys it is looking for, it does what you told it to.
Rating: 10 Votes
65 months ago
This is the beginning of the end.

We all know which direction this is going. iOS on our macs, we see it slowly going that way, adapting feature after feature from iOS. Soon enough, we will be locked down to a crippled user experience due to lack of customization and freedom to do what we want.

Imagine only being able to only install applications on your computer (or maybe i should say iBook) from the Mac App Store bowing to Apple's every liking and disliking. We should have the right to get software from ANY distribution source we want!

They are going to enforce their power on a platform that has always been open, free and great. Some things are better left alone. The day that Apple enforces this policy is the day i make the switch back to Windows or Linux on a good ol "free" PC. I don't want to live under an iron fist.

I love OSX, but i've never used the Mac App Store and never will as i prefer to get the software directly from the creator, hopefully making them a bit more money so apple doesn't get their 30% share, as if they need it.

Let's just hope it doesn't go that way, and they think before they risk losing customers!
Rating: 7 Votes
65 months ago

You don't need an app for hot keys; you can configure them with Automator. People don't need to make a big deal over this

Automator is slow as molasses and impractical for setting up global hotkeys. I use Alfred (with PowerPack which you CANNOT get from the App Store) and it's lightening fast.

I just hope to God Apple never forces all 3rd party devs to use the Mac App Store or I will be forced to leave the Mac altogether. And I love my Macs. (Albeit a little less these days since upgrading to Lion.)
Rating: 6 Votes
65 months ago
Why I don't buy new Mac's.

This is why I have stopped buying new Macintosh computers and stopped upgrading my MacOS. Apple is taking away the useful functionality I need to do my work. I don't use a computer in order to use a computer. Using the computer is not the end all and be all. The computer is a tool to let me do my work. When the computer gets in the way of getting my work done then I won't use the computer. Apple is being arrogant and it is costing them sales.

Apple needs to take several steps back. They need to support Classic, Rosetta and drop these requirements that are destroying the useful software.

Apple loses.
Rating: 6 Votes
65 months ago
Rating: 5 Votes
65 months ago
This is exactly why I haven't really invested in apps from the Mac App Store. Sure I've bought a couple from Apple. Even a couple games like Angry Birds. Grabbed some freebies like Twitter and Evernote. But beyond that? Not worth the risk at this point.

I love my iOS devices—they are extremely secure and easy to use. But I, like many other Mac users, make my living on my machine. I don't have time to screw around with all these limitations. I have money to make. I have clients with budgets and timelines to satisfy. That is why I will continue to invest outside the App Store for any mission critical applications. The moment Apple removes that capability, I won't hesitate to go back to Windows—and I hate Windows. Ask anyone I know “Who is the biggest Apple fan?” and they will say me. So I'm not making these comments lightly.

My hope is that Apple will find a new way to securely implement these features in a future OS. I'm optimistic, but cautious. Apple has yet to prove to me that they are taking the Mac App Store seriously. We should be getting more features and capabilities over time—not less.
Rating: 5 Votes

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