FlickType Pulling iPhone Keyboard App After Continued Rejection Issues

FlickType founder Kosta Eleftheriou, who has been vocal about scam apps on several occasions, today announced that the iPhone portion of his app FlickType Watch Keyboard will be discontinued because of ongoing issues with Apple's App Store review team.

flicktype keyboard
Eleftheriou says that the FlickType team is no longer able to endure Apple's "abuse" after dealing with "obstacle after obstacle" over the years, culminating in a recent rejection last week.


FlickType keyboard is an Apple Watch keyboard that can be used as an alternative to Apple's built-in Scribble feature. It allows for tap-based typing or swipe-based typing, and the app's description says that it's up to three times faster than the standard keyboard. There's also an ‌iPhone‌ keyboard component designed specifically for blind and low-vision VoiceOver users that features large keys, high-contrast colors, and VoiceOver feedback. This is the portion of the app that's being removed.

An update to FlickType with bug fixes and VoiceOver improvements was submitted last week. Though it added no new features, Apple rejected the app and said that it wouldn't work without full access, an issue that Eleftheriou says was addressed three years ago.


After not being able to get in touch with Apple's ‌App Store‌ review team to get the issue resolved, the FlickType app is being discontinued. FlickType's developers wanted to keep the keyboard extension available as a TestFlight beta, but Apple rejected that idea. The long-term option is to provide the container typing app with a share button for exporting text, with no option to keep the functional ‌iPhone‌ keyboard around in its current form.

Eleftheriou previously levied a lawsuit against Apple in March over Apple's failure to get rid of copycat apps, and he today highlighted Apple's "terrible" third-party keyboard APIs as another reason for the App's discontinuation. Apple's keyboard APIs have reportedly been "buggy, inconsistent, ever-changing, and broken" since 2014.

Eleftheriou says that he hopes to one day return the app as a "real" keyboard app on the ‌iPhone‌ and the Apple Watch, "hopefully outside of the ‌App Store‌" in reference to current U.S. legislation that would require Apple to allow for alternate third-party app stores and sideloading.

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Top Rated Comments

jclardy Avatar
36 months ago

Sounds like a troll. sued Apple so they get rid of copy cats (which are perfectly allowed) . Complains about Apple API being buggy. Tried to sidestep the Apple review by attempting to have users install the app through TestFlight beta. Removes app after Apple refused to allow freeloading app on Testflght in order to avoid app review.
Nope. I work as a developer for a company with multiple oft-featured apps. We deal with App Store rejections for about two weeks for every month. Escalations usually work and we get through it, but app review is a complete joke and a waste of time for all parties involved. Take 10 seconds and search for "wallpaper app" and you will get 20 scam apps in the top listings. Literally the first result (Thanks to the scam of apple search ads) is a $7.99/week scam. $416 a year for iPhone wallpapers. Should that be allowed? Apple doesn't care because they are making $124 per user that this company scams.

App review polices the "good apps" and does nothing to the actual offenders.

EDIT: Also the first real result is another $7.99/week scam. Why is this a good thing for users, Apple apologists?
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mwd25 Avatar
36 months ago
Well, thats it. For years i have been solidly behind Apple on these issues. The whole Epic Fortnight b.s. The Spotify stuff, multitudes of whining developers. WAHHHHH, Apple wont let crappy, buggy, virus full apps be side loaded. I have been completely on board with Apples argument of security and quality to not allow this stuff. But it seems more and more that Apple uses this legitimate point, to strong arm and essentially screw over anyone and everyone. Weather its a conscience decision or more likely just complete laziness and incompetence by the powers that are running the app review process I dont know. One thing Apple has been succesful at is, driving me to change sides on this issue. Congrats. It must be beyond frustrating to deal with this crap. To jump through all their stupid hoops, get screwed around for weeks and even months. Finally get it resolved only to have some moron reject it for an issue thats already been solved. So again, kudos Apple. Your stellar lack of being able to work with people, ie, customer service. Something you were known for as one of the best companies out there. You have ruined it and made me now root for these people.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
36 months ago
as a very similar built in keyboard function shows up miraculously on a future version of iOS
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
36 months ago

look at the developer's bio

now it all makes sense.
I'd venture a guess they added that to their bio after the Nth time they had problems interacting with the App Store, and getting updates pushed through, as a sign of their frustration. Not as, "I'm going to set out in life to criticize Apple." (If the latter were really their goal, there's a thriving contingent of those here on MacRumors.)

The app review process has been a major source of frustration for a lot of developers. Them calling it abuse is, I think, being a bit overly dramatic. But this is not an isolated case.

It's an enormous job for Apple, keeping track of all the apps (and updates, and policing the scams, and so on) and interacting with, what, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of developers. But, on the other hand, Apple has basically all the money in the world, and a stated desire to be the most awesome at the things they do, so it certainly seems like they need to throw a whole lot more resources at the whole App Store process - not just hiring a bunch more reviewers, but really putting in the effort to make it the best possible app store, even if that means making major changes, expensive changes. It makes it harder for them to make the case that, "this is the only app store anyone needs on iOS", if the App Store they're offering doesn't have a sterling reputation.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bwillwall Avatar
36 months ago
Look I'm not saying Apple is doing something horrible by not allowing a keyboard app for Apple Watch, but they are definitely choosing beggars over the App Store. They want total and 100% control over the App Store, AND to take 30% out of your Netflix and Spotify subscription (which aren't even exclusive to your Apple devices), AND to reject any type of app they don't like, AND to dominate the smartphone market in the US. Sorry but everyone has definitively rejected this amount of power be in Apple's hands, and they totally did it to themselves. They are clearly out of touch with their own impact on the world and the likelihood that they will be regulated to **** if they abuse their control of people's devices. If Apple wanted to keep control of iPhone apps they should have played at least a bit more fair. I hope the side-loading bill wins by a landslide and Tim Apple can cry about it and think about how he caused it.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Confused Vorlon Avatar
36 months ago

lol

look at the developer's bio


now it all makes sense.
It makes sense if you think Apple would punish a critic by rejecting their Apps.

I'm sure Apple will tell you that they never retaliate against critics though.


He's very clear he wants an open app store where he can ignore Apple's APIs and code whatever he wants.

So yes to sum up the article which I read in its entirety. He doesn't like Apples rules and wants a way to bypass them. He wants zero accountability for his code.
Whilst that is true (at least wanting the freedom to sell apps outside the app store); That isn't why he removed this app.
He is only asking that they don't continually reject a good popular app for ******** reasons which they have already dismissed in app review.

I'm a developer and every update is a roll of the dice on what new stupid rejection reason will pop up on a previously approved app. It's deeply frustrating.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)