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'App Store' Articles Page 2

Vaporizer Manufacturer PAX Calls on Apple to Rethink Vaping-Related App Ban

Apple last week removed all vaping-related apps from the App Store and updated ‌App Store‌ guidelines to prohibit apps that facilitate or encourage the use of vape-related devices. Apple never allowed apps that sold vape cartridges, but it did allow apps that offered up vape-related news or provided controls for vape devices. Some companies, such as PAX, relied heavily on Apple's ‌App Store‌ to add technology to vaporizer devices and those companies are unhappy with Apple's recent ban. PAX today penned a missive calling on Apple to rethink its decision as PAX creates several vaporizers that are designed to be controlled and customized through iOS and Android apps. The now-banned PAX Mobile app, for example, let PAX vaporizer users do things like adjust the vaporizer temperature, set parental controls, verify the authenticity of cartridges, and change the colors of the lights on the devices. PAX says that while it respects Apple's leadership, it is concerned with Apple's ban because it prevents consumers in legal stages from "having access to important information and the ability to better control their cannabis experience." Apple decided to ban all vaping-related apps after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,172 lung injury cases linked to e-cigarette or vape products containing vitamin E acetate, found primarily in products "informally" sourced from friends, family, or in-person or online dealers. In a statement, Apple said that it agrees with the CDC's opinion that the spread of vaping devices is a "public health crisis and youth

Apple's WWDC App is Now 'Apple Developer App' With Year Round News, Videos and More

Apple today updated its "WWDC" app, changing the name to "Apple Developer" and announcing new year-round updates. Apple says that the new Apple Developer app will provide "in-depth information from Apple experts all year round," with the app featuring developer news, videos, WWDC content, and more. The Apple Developer app can also be used to enroll in the Apple Developer program on iPhone or iPad, though this functionality is currently limited to the United States. Membership is provided as an auto-renewable subscription, making it easier to keep a developer account active. The Apple Developer app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. Those who had the WWDC app can install an update to get the new Apple Developer

Apple Removing Vaping-Related Apps From App Store Today Amid Public Health Concerns

Apple is removing all vaping-related apps from the App Store today, according to Axios, shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,172 lung injury cases linked to e-cigarette or vape products. In a statement issued to Axios, Apple said it agrees with expert opinions that vaping is a "public health crisis" and a "youth epidemic":We take great care to curate the App Store as a trusted place for customers, particularly youth, to download apps. We're constantly evaluating apps, and consulting the latest evidence, to determine risks to users' health and well-being. Recently, experts ranging from the CDC to the American Heart Association have attributed a variety of lung injuries and fatalities to e-cigarette and vaping products, going so far as to call the spread of these devices a public health crisis and a youth epidemic. We agree, and we've updated our App Store Review Guidelines to reflect that apps encouraging or facilitating the use of these products are not permitted. As of today, these apps are no longer available to download.Apple had already took a step in this direction in June, when it updated its App Store Review Guidelines to indicate that apps encouraging consumption of vape products are not permitted on the App Store. Vaping-related apps already installed on iOS devices will continue to function. Note: This discussion thread is located in our Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tim Cook Defends Removal of Hong Kong Mapping App From App Store in Leaked Memo

Apple CEO Tim Cook has written to employees defending the company's controversial decision to pull an app used by Hong Kong protestors to coordinate gatherings and avoid large concentrations of police. Apple removed HKMap Live from the App Store on Thursday following the app's approval last week, which itself only came after an internal review of the company's original decision to reject it. Apple's reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party's flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the app into its store. In a company-wide memo, a verified copy of which has been reproduced on Pastebin, Cook told staff that the decision to remove the app was not easy, but that Apple had received "credible information" from Hong Kong police that the app was being used to target individuals for violence. Here's the memo in full: Team, You have likely seen the news that we made the decision to remove an app from the ‌App Store‌ entitled HKmap.live. These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate. It’s out of my great respect for the work you do every day that I want to share the way we went about making this decision. It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign. However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and

Crossy Road Castle Coming Soon to Apple Arcade

Hipster Whale, the developers behind the popular game Crossy Road, are expanding the franchise and introducing a new title, Crossy Road Castle, which is coming to Apple Arcade later this year. The news was announced today via a trailer for the upcoming game, which features Crossy Road-style gameplay in a platform-like castle setting. Crossy Road first came out in 2014 and soared to popularity thanks to its simple tap-based object avoidance gameplay and wealth of unlockable characters. Crossy Road is available on multiple platforms, but given the mobile exclusivity restrictions for ‌Apple Arcade‌, Crossy Road Castle will be available solely on the iPhone and won't come to Android. ‌Apple Arcade‌ games are available on ‌iPhone‌, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, but not all games are available on all platforms. Crossy Road Castle, though, will be available on all devices that support ‌Apple Arcade‌, according to GameSpot. Crossy Road Castle will include no in-app purchases or additional unlocks, and will be available as part of the $4.99 per month ‌Apple Arcade‌ subscription price. Up to four players can play Crossy Road Castle collaboratively via a local connection, so friends and family members can play with one another. There's no specific launch date for Crossy Road Castle, with Hipster Whale saying it's "coming

China Accuses Apple of 'Protecting Rioters' After Approving HKmap Live for the App Store

Apple has come under attack from China for allowing an app in its App Store that is being used by Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in the city state (via The Guardian). Last week we reported that Apple was reviewing its decision to reject the HKmap Live app from the ‌App Store‌ while it investigated whether the software violates local laws. HKmap Live has been used extensively by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong to crowdsource information about street closures and police presence. Apple ultimately approved the app, which has become the most downloaded app under the travel category in the iOS ‌App Store‌ for Hong Kong – a fact that appears to have attracted the ire of the mainland Chinese administration. On Wednesday, China's state media accused the tech giant of endorsing and protecting "rioters" in Hong Kong's ongoing protests. The condemnation came via the People's Daily, a recognized Chinese Communist party mouthpiece. The commentary, the print-version of which ran with the headline "Protecting rioters – Has Apple thought clearly about this?", denounced Apple for "allowing the poisonous app to flourish," which it called "a betrayal of the Chinese people's feelings." It said Apple's approval of HKmap Live, which it did not specifically name, made it an "accomplice" in the protests because it "blatantly protects and endorses the rioters," and questioned what the company's intentions were. It also criticized Apple for allowing Glory to Hong Kong – an unofficial anthem frequently sung by protesters during the ongoing

Amazon Prime Video Currently Unavailable in App Store Across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV [Update: It's Back]

Amazon Prime Video is currently unavailable in the App Store across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Amazon had updated the iOS version of the app shortly before it was removed from the App Store, but it is unclear why the app was pulled or whether this is a temporary move. Apple deferred comment to Amazon, which has yet to respond to our email. We'll update as we learn more. Update: MacRumors has been informed this was a technical issue and the app should be back up shortly. Update 2: Amazon Prime Video has returned to the App

Congress Reportedly Asks Spotify for Information on Apple's Alleged Anticompetitive Behavior

The U.S. Congress has requested information from Spotify related to its anticompetitive allegations against Apple, according to Reuters. From the report:The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee reached out to the music streaming service with broad requests for information, according to one source, who added the request to the company was narrowed in follow up telephone calls.In March, Spotify announced it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair App Store practices. Spotify took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on only certain App Store purchases, calling it "discriminatory." Apple only charges a commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, so apps providing real goods and services like Uber are exempt. Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system. Apple labeled Spotify's complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and claimed that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free," later adding that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers, as part of its official response to the complaint. Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store. In response, Apple said the App Store "welcomes competition," noting that it

Apple Bans App That Allowed Hong Kong Protestors to Track Police Movements [Updated x2]

Apple has reportedly banned an app that allows Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in the city state, despite increasing international condemnation against the violence used by the authorities. According to The Register, Apple has told the makers of the HKmap Live app that it can't be allowed in the App Store because it helps protestors to evade the police. "Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement," the American tech giant told makers of the HKmap Live on Tuesday before pulling it.Opposition to the Chinese state and the Hong Kong authorities has grown louder, driven by an escalation in violence against protestors over the past week. On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of an unarmed teenage student by police. Tsang Chi-kin was shot in the chest at point-blank range on Tuesday. He remains in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet, which narrowly missed his heart. The rise in police violence has led protesters to make use of digital networking and collaborative tools to organize street gatherings, with services like HKmap Live being used to help them avoid what they perceive as government-orchestrated attacks. This isn't the first time Apple has acted to remove apps from the ‌App Store‌ to abide by Chinese law. In July 2017, Apple removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China, following regulations passed

Apple Plans to Allow Siri to Default to Frequently-Used Third-Party Messaging Apps Later This Year

Apple plans to release a software update later this year that will make Siri more flexible with third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger, the company told Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Specifically, the update will enable Siri to default to the messaging app that a person uses most frequently to communicate with a given contact. For example, if an iPhone user almost always messages a friend via WhatsApp, Siri will automatically use WhatsApp rather than Apple's own iMessage. It will still not be possible to straight-up set third-party apps as default on an iPhone. Instead, the report claims Siri will decide which messaging app to use based on interactions with specific contacts. App Store developers will need to enable the new Siri functionality in their apps when available. Currently, users must specify the third-party app they wish to use to message someone, such as "message John with WhatsApp." Following the software update, a user could simply say "message John" and Siri would automatically know to do so via WhatsApp if it is the most frequently used app in that case. This functionality will later be expanded to third-party phone apps for calls as well, but no timeframe was specified. In a statement, Apple also defended the competitive landscape of the App Store in response to another Bloomberg story claiming that Apple's default apps have a growing edge over third-party options in the App Store:Apple offers our users an experience that is only possible from the integration of hardware, software, and services. From the very

U.S. House Committee Asks Apple to Send Info About App Store Policies and More as Part of Antitrust Investigation

As part of a bipartisan investigation of competition in digital markets, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting that the company provide any documents and executive communications related to its various policies for the App Store, product repairs, and more. The investigation seeks any internal documents or communication involving Apple executives, such as emails, for the following topics:Apple's decision to remove from the ‌App Store‌ or to impose any restrictions on certain parental control apps, including Freedom, Kidslox, Mobicip, OurPact, and Qustodio Apple's ‌App Store‌ algorithm for determining rankings in search results Apple's policy related to the ‌App Store‌'s in-app purchase mechanism and its revenue split Apple's policy regarding whether apps are permitted to include in-app links to non-Apple payment systems Apple's policy regarding whether users can set non-Apple apps as default, such as web browsers and music, maps, and email apps Apple's policy regarding whether to allow any third-party app store beyond the ‌App Store‌ on the iPhone Apple's decision to "sherlock" any functionality from third-party apps, including any discussions about Clue, Duet Display, and SwiftKey Apple's policy regarding whether third-party web browsers must use a specific rendering engine, such as WebKit Apple's restrictions on third-party repairs Apple's decision to offer discounted iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018, or the actual or projected effects of this decision, including any effect on ‌iPhone‌ sales Apple'

Apple Announces Billing Grace Period for App Store Subscriptions

Apple today announced a new billing grace period for subscriptions, which will let subscribers who experience unsuccessful auto-renewals continue to use an app's paid content while Apple attempts to collect payment. This will be a useful feature for developers as customers who do not immediately update their billing when a subscription fee becomes due can currently lose access to premium features right away. Apple's new option is designed to provide a short period in which customers can still access those premium features while giving them time to fix the billing problem. Grace periods will vary based on subscription length. Subscriptions that last a week will have a six day grace period, while all longer subscriptions will have a 16 day grace period. Apple says that there will be no interruption to a subscriber's days of paid service or to a developer's revenue if payment is successful within the new grace period.You can now enable Billing Grace Period for your apps with auto-renewable subscriptions in App Store Connect. Billing Grace Period allows you to let subscribers whose auto-renewal has failed due to a payment issue continue accessing your app's paid content for a period of time while Apple attempts to collect payment. There won't be any interruption to the subscriber's days of paid service or to your revenue if Apple is able to recover the subscription within the grace period.Developers who have subscription apps are now able to implement support for the new billing grace

Apple Asks Developers to Submit watchOS Apps to Apple Watch App Store

Apple today asked developers to begin building, testing, and submitting watchOS 6 apps for inclusion in the new standalone Apple Watch App Store. Starting with ‌watchOS 6‌, developers are able to distribute apps built solely for the ‌Apple Watch‌ without a companion app on iOS. Apple was not previously accepting standalone ‌Apple Watch‌ submissions and has also updated its watchOS site for developers. ‌Apple Watch‌ apps can be installed from the ‌Apple Watch‌ ‌App Store‌ directly on the wrist even when an iPhone isn't available.With ‌watchOS 6‌, customers around the world can use the new ‌App Store‌ on ‌Apple Watch‌ to easily discover, browse, search, and install apps directly on their wrist. And for the first time, you can distribute an app just for ‌Apple Watch‌, without a companion app on iOS. Build your watchOS apps using Xcode 11 GM seed, test them on devices running the latest ‌watchOS 6‌ GM seed, and submit them for review.Apple says that starting in April 2020, all new watchOS apps and app updates submitted to the ‌App Store‌ will need to be built with the ‌watchOS 6‌ SDK and support the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 or later. ‌watchOS 6‌ with standalone ‌App Store‌ is set to launch on the Series 3 and Series 4 ‌Apple Watch‌ models on Thursday, September 19. It will be available for Series 1 and Series 2 ‌Apple Watch‌ models later in the year. The ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 5, which launches on Friday, September 20, will come with ‌watchOS 6‌

Apple Requiring New Apps and App Updates to Be Built With iOS 13 SDK Starting in April 2020

Apple today reminded iOS developers to update their apps for iOS 13, using the new Xcode 11 golden master that was released earlier today. According to Apple, all new apps and app updates will need to be built with the ‌iOS 13‌ SDK and support the all-screen design of the iPhone XS Max or later by April 2020. With ‌iOS 13‌, your app can take advantage of Dark Mode, a dramatic new look for iPhone, Sign in with Apple, the fast, easy way to sign in to apps, and the latest advances in ARKit 3, Core ML 3, and Siri. Build your apps using Xcode 11 GM seed, test them on iOS devices running the latest GM seeds, and submit them for review. Starting April 2020, all new apps and app updates will need to be built with the ‌iOS 13‌ SDK and support the all-screen design of ‌iPhone XS‌ Max or later.Apple plans to release ‌iOS 13‌ to the public on Thursday, September 19, one day before the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models become available for

Apple Adjusts App Store Algorithm After Realizing Many Apple Apps Dominate Search Results

Apple recently adjusted its App Store search algorithm so that fewer of its own apps appear at the top of search results, senior executives Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue confirmed in an interview with The New York Times. Specifically, the executives said Apple has tweaked a feature that sometimes grouped apps by maker so Apple apps would no longer look as if they were receiving preferential treatment. The New York Times claims that many Apple apps have dropped in the search results since the change was implemented in July. Schiller and Cue both denied any wrongdoing on Apple's part, however, describing the change as an improvement rather than a fix:On July 12, many Apple apps dropped sharply in the rankings of popular searches. The top results for "TV" went from four Apple apps to two. "Video" and "maps" changed from three top Apple apps to one. And Apple Wallet dropped from the No. 1 spot for "money" and "credit." Mr. Schiller and Mr. Cue said the algorithm had been working properly. They simply decided to handicap themselves to help other developers. "We make mistakes all the time," Mr. Cue said. "We're happy to admit when we do," Mr. Schiller said. "This wasn't a mistake."Even after the change, analytics firm Sensor Tower found Apple apps ranked first in the App Store for over 700 search terms, even when the Apple apps were less relevant and less popular than ones from its competitors:On Aug. 21, Apple apps ranked first in 735 of roughly 60,000 search terms tracked by Sensor Tower. Most of the tracked searches were obscure, but Apple’s apps ranked first

iOS App 'UVLens' Apparently Hacked, Sends Out Very Inappropriate Notifications [Updated]

An iOS App Store weather app called "UVLens" this morning sent out highly inappropriate pornographic notifications to all of its users, suggesting the app may have been hacked or otherwise compromised in some way. There are dozens of complaints from users on Twitter who received the notification, which was in no way weather related and was explicit enough to shock users who received it. UVLens is a simple app designed to provide hourly UV forecasts for those who are concerned about their sun exposure. It is a general use app and it's quite possible that it could have been downloaded by children given its 4+ age rating. UVLens appears to have sent out the notification to all of its users given the volume of tweets, and one person said that when she tapped the incoming notification, it tried to open a secondary window. MacRumors was alerted to the issue by editor Mitchel Broussard, who has been using the app for more than a year. Prior to today, the app worked well and sent out no inappropriate content to users. We've never before seen reports of an app sending out notifications like this, so it's rather unusual. Apple does not appear to have a solid reporting system in place for instances like this, as we discovered after the notifications went out. UVLens has not yet commented on the situation. There's a "Report a Problem" website for reporting issues with recently purchased iOS apps, but it does not work with older purchased apps that suddenly go rogue. There's no report button in the ‌App Store‌ for individual apps, no option when 3D Touching an app

Apple Delaying Plans to Limit Third-Party Tracking in Kids Apps

Apple is delaying its plans to limit third-party tracking and ads in apps designed for children, reports The Washington Post. The company's decision comes following an inquiry from The Washington Post about app developers who are unhappy with the changes and what it means for the way free apps for children function. Earlier this year, there were reports suggesting Apple would limit third-party ad tracking in apps aimed at kids to better protect their privacy, and Apple formally announced changes in June. Apple initially planned to roll out these changes in September, but is now holding off to give developers more time to adjust to the new rules.Following an inquiry from The Washington Post, Apple said Friday that it now plans to delay the rule changes. "We aren't backing off on this important issue, but we are working to help developers get there," Apple spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in an emailed statement. The statement said some developers had asked Apple to clarify the new rules, but that "generally we have heard from them that there is widespread support for what we are trying to do to protect kids."Apple's new App Store guidelines prevent apps for kids from using third-party analytics services, which can collect a lot of data about usage habits. Apple is also "severely curtailing" ad sales in kids apps.In order to help keep kids' data private, apps in the kids category and apps intended for kids cannot include third-party advertising or analytics software and may not transmit data to third parties. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must

Apple Says Simulated Gambling Apps Will Be Rated 17+ in All Countries Starting Today

In an email to developers today, received by MacRumors, Apple has announced that apps marked as having "Frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling" will be rated 17+ in all countries and regions starting today. Gambling apps meeting certain related criteria will also be newly available to users in South Korea, but only to users 19 years of age or older. Apple's full email:Dear Developer, In an effort to open up additional opportunities for developers, we've worked with the government of the Republic of Korea on making more apps available on the App Store in the Republic of Korea. And to ensure that our global age rating system continues to help make the ‌App Store‌ safe for kids, apps that feature Frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling will be rated 17+ in all countries and regions starting August 20, 2019. If your app meets at least one of the criteria below, you'll be able to offer it on the ‌App Store‌ in the Republic of Korea to users 19 years of age or older. You'll need to enter a Rating Classification Number from the Game Rating and Administration Committee in ‌App Store‌ Connect, and can do so starting August 20. Apps with a number entered at this time will be published later this week. If you don't have a Rating Classification Number, you can apply for one now. - Apps in the Casino subcategory with age rating 17+ - Apps in the Games or Entertainment categories with Frequent/Intense selected for at least one of the following content descriptions: -- Simulated Gambling -- Sexual Content or Nudity -- Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or Reference --

App Developers Claim Apple's iOS 13 Location Tracking Changes Are Anti-Competitive

Apple in iOS 13 made changes to the way location tracking permissions work, and there's no longer an option for apps to ask to "Always Allow" location tracking. Instead, Apple allows users to select "Allow While Using the App," "Allow Once," or "Don't Allow," which some app creators have taken offense to. The leaders of seven companies that make apps for iOS devices banded together to write an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak out about the changes, with the details shared by The Information. There's no longer an "Always Allow" option on privacy popups in ‌iOS 13‌ for enabling permanent location access The companies that wrote to Cook are upset that there's no longer a readily available "Always Allow" option. Users can still turn on "Always Allow" in the Privacy section of the Settings app, but it's not available by default and requires additional steps. As an example, Zenly, a location tracking app owned by Snap, needs to have location tracking on permanently to function. Since there's no option to turn on "Always Allow," Zenly has to have a clunky secondary display screen that instructs users to open up the Privacy settings on their iPhones to change the location setting. This makes consumers more aware of apps that are tracking them continually, but it is an extra step that app developers must contend with. Apps that want continual location data must instruct customers to enable it in the Settings app According to the companies who wrote to Cook, the changes could potentially lead users to think their apps are broken unless they're "savvy enough" tweak

App Store 'Today' Stories Now Fully Available on the Web

Apple redesigned its App Store app in iOS 11, introducing a new "Today" tab with editorials about featured apps and developers, tips and how tos, and more to help customers discover new and useful apps. As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple recently extended these Today stories to the web, making the content fully accessible on the desktop. The new two-column layout features a title card on the left and content on the right, ranging from text and images to app lists and links. Previously, the web previews simply directed users to the ‌App Store‌ on an iOS device. Today stories can be read on the web by opening a story from an iOS device, scrolling down to the bottom, and tapping "share