Apple Cracks Down on Notification Center Widgets, Says 'Neato' Must Remove Note Taking Feature

Apple is cracking down on Notification Center widgets in iOS once again, this time telling Neato that its note taking widget is unacceptable and will need to be removed due to the fact that it includes a keyboard.

First launched in early November, Neato installs a quick note taking widget in the Notification Center, letting users type directly in the widget. Notes can be sent instantly to either Evernote or Dropbox. As a widget-focused app, Neato has no other functionality, which means the removal of its keyboard will essentially kill the app.

neatowidget
According to the developers behind Neato, who spoke to Gizmodo, Apple contacted the company after it became popular, hitting the top 10 business list in more than 65 countries.

We were expecting Neato to be featured by Apple but instead Apple called us on Nov 10th, and we were told that: "Neato does not comply with one or more App Review Guidelines". They required us to remove the keyboard from the widget. But Neato without the keyboard is nothing, and like a limp horse.

The company attempted to appeal, but Apple stuck with its decision to force Neato to remove the keyboard, stating that its position on the app had "not changed" and that an update removing keyboard functionality would need to be submitted within two weeks.

Apple appears to be having some difficulty deciding on what constitutes acceptable use of the Notification Center as app developers come up with clever ways to take advantage of widget functionality. In late October, Apple told PCalc's developers that the PCalc calculator widget would need to be removed as Notification Center widgets were not allowed to perform calculations, but a day later, the company reversed course and allowed the calculator widget to remain in the App Store.

Another app, Launcher, wasn't quite as lucky. Introduced shortly after iOS 8 was released to the public, Launcher installed a Notification Center widget that provided access to quick actions like making a phone call, opening a pre-defined Maps route, or sending a tweet. Launcher was only available for a few days in the App Store before Apple opted to pull it.

According to Apple's App Extension guidelines, Notification Center widgets should have a "simple, streamlined UI," a limited number of interactive items, and are prohibited from creating "a mini version" of an app. Apple has run into several apps that, like PCalc, were not expected widget use cases and are not outlined in the widget guidelines, leading to apps that are accepted and then later rejected as Apple further defines how it wants the Notification Center to be used.

Neato can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
124 months ago
Apple "opening up" iOS 8 sometimes feels like a prison adding a new cell block.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
124 months ago
To be fair adding a full keyboard might have been a bit much. Apple specifically states you can't have the keyboard in the notification centre. I'm just surprised it got approved to begin with.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SolarShane Avatar
124 months ago
Apple reverting to old ways. Thought WWDC was all about "opening up". Clearly Apple hates innovation unless it comes from Apple.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chad-VI Avatar
124 months ago
I don't understand what's their problem. If users are happy with this, why would they remove it just for the sake of "simplicity" like if iOS users are children:mad:
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2IS Avatar
124 months ago
This one does sound like a little much.. Not sure who's side I'm on regarding notification widgets yet.

If it's a bit much for you, then don't use the app. Simple.

I don't understand why Apple and some of their user base are so afraid of added functionality.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hustler1337 Avatar
124 months ago
I can't understand Apple, they're severely restricting the Notification Centre from reaching it's true potential. Developers ought to be rewarded in coming up with helpful and useful widgets that many will find beneficial in their daily lives, not punished and told that it doesn't comply with their dubious App Guidelines whenever they feel like it.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)