Apple Explains BlueMail Reinstatement, Says BlueMail Finally Complied With Gatekeeper Security Requirements

Last week, BlueMail co-founders Ben Volach and Dan Volach penned an open letter that encouraged any developers who feel that Apple kicked them out of the App Store or has treated them unfairly to share their stories.


BlueMail itself was removed from the Mac App Store in June 2019 after Apple found the app to be in violation of several App Store Review Guidelines, but the Volach brothers disagreed and argued that Apple showed "little willingness to resolve the issue" and provided "shifting explanations" as to why the app was removed from the Mac App Store and why it could not be reinstated.

Apple has since responded to the matter, refuting many of BlueMail's claims and noting that its App Store Review Guidelines apply evenly to all developers.

In a statement last week, shared with MacRumors, Apple said it "attempted on multiple occasions to assist them in getting their BlueMail app back on the Mac App Store," but said "they have refused our help." Apple added that BlueMail was "proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy."

Just days later, however, BlueMail has returned to the Mac App Store, which BlueMail said is "proof that speaking out works."

"When we wrote to Tim Cook in November, we heard back in hours. When we wrote to Apple's developer community, BlueMail was back on the App Store within a week," said Dan Volach, co-founder at Blix. "If you're out there too scared to come forward, let this be your proof that speaking out works. To Apple, we want to reiterate that all we want for developers is an opportunity to be treated fairly."

Apple's response, however, suggests that BlueMail refused to take the necessary steps for its app to be reinstated on the Mac App Store until now.

Specifically, Apple says its Developer Technical Support team advised the BlueMail team to make changes to how it packages its Mac app in order to resolve a security and privacy warnings issue related to the app creating a new binary with a bundle ID that changes on each launch.

Apple says that BlueMail finally submitted a revised version of its app with an updated binary respecting Gatekeeper on February 7, two days after its open letter to developers. Apple says its App Review team found that the previous issues had been addressed, allowing it to return to the Mac App Store as of Monday.

Nevertheless, BlueMail parent company Blix today said it has no intention of dropping its legal case against Apple, which it believes extends beyond the removal of BlueMail on the Mac App Store to the "suppression of its iOS app" and the "infringement of Blix's patented technology through 'Sign in with Apple.'"

"We're happy that users can once again get BlueMail through the Mac App Store, but we know this isn't the end. Our experience has shown that until the app review process includes effective checks and balances, Apple holds too much power over small developers," said Ben Volach, co-founder at Blix. "One solution could be to include external independent members and observers in Apple's App Review Board, just as a public company's Board of Directors represents its shareholders."

BlueMail parent company Blix's lawsuit against Apple, filed in October 2019, alleges that the "Hide My Email" feature of "Sign in with Apple" infringes on its patented technology. The complaint also accuses Apple of anticompetitive behavior, including removing BlueMail from the Mac App Store at the time.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
7 weeks ago
So you failed to comply with standard security guidelines and you're whining about it. Thanks, but I'll never use BlueMail.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 weeks ago
As a developer, I sometimes get frustrated with Apple's policies as well. But the tradeoff is as a user, I am happy that if someone is trying to be a bad actor, they are often limited to their sandbox and Apple takes care of them quickly. They even did the same thing to Facebook. Every time I see a company like BlueMail whining, it's obvious to me that the developers should just stick with Android and Windows to get away with things they want to get away with.

The right way isn't to cry foul when you're caught doing something bad. The right way is to open a conversation with your Apple Developer Relations contact and work with Apple to either change policy or understand if your business is going to work in the Apple ecosystem. Suing them for upholding their own policies and rules is like suing your landlord when you are breaking the lease, the judge is going to laugh and throw it out, while you're making no one but lawyers richer.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 weeks ago
I find it highly unlikely that Apple caved because Bluemail complained in the press. Apple doesn't even cave to public pressure from the state of CA nor the U.S. Government.

The only "entity" that Apple rolls over for is the Chinese Government...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 weeks ago
Why would they change their binary after they launched? That implies they're pulling new versions of their app down occasionally, which is a great way to bypass gatekeeper.

Why would they do this?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 weeks ago


So you failed to comply with standard security guidelines and you're whining about it. Thanks, but I'll never use BlueMail.

If only it was that simple.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 weeks ago
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Friday March 27, 2020 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor. It's not clear how the alleged Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital...

Zoom Updates iOS App to Stop Sending Data to Facebook

Friday March 27, 2020 5:35 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Zoom, a video conferencing app that many people are using at the current time to keep in touch with coworkers while working from home, was sending data to Facebook without disclosing the data sharing to customers. As of today, Zoom has updated its iOS app to remove the SDK that was providing data to Facebook through the Login with Facebook feature, according to Motherboard, the site that...

Apple Suppliers Worried About iPhone Demand, Production Ramp-Up for New iPhones Reportedly Postponed

Friday March 27, 2020 5:56 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current iPhone models and the new iPhones expected in the fall. According to Reuters, a senior official at one of Apple's major supply companies said that orders for quarter ending in March are...

Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Friday March 27, 2020 5:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. As with every Woot purchase, those...

Apple Launches COVID-19 Website and App With Screening Tool and Resources

Friday March 27, 2020 9:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that it has released a new COVID-19 website and iPhone app with a screening tool and other resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA on this initiative. The website and app allow users to answer a...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

2020 iPad Pro Teardown Provides Closer Look at LiDAR Scanner and Confirms Incremental Update

Saturday March 28, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
iFixit today shared a video teardown of the new iPad Pro, which Apple unveiled earlier this month. iFixit found that most of the internals of the 2020 iPad Pro are the same as the 2018 model, confirming that the device is a relatively incremental update. The most notable new feature seen inside the new iPad Pro was the LiDAR scanner, which measures the distance to surrounding objects up...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Apple Offering 90-Day Free Trials for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X

Thursday March 26, 2020 2:58 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is offering new free trial options for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, its video and audio editing software designed for professional projects, giving customers 90 days to try them out prior to a purchase. The new longer trial options will be beneficial to those who are working from home, including students who are no longer able to work in a classroom environment, and those who are...