Apple Pulls 'FlexBright', Says iOS Apps That Adjust Display Temperature Aren't Allowed

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this week, we shared a blue-light reduction app called FlexBright, which worked similarly to Apple's own Night Shift mode. Apple initially approved the app, which was able to adjust the screen temperature for the entire iPhone, but after it garnered attention following our post, Apple pulled it from the App Store.

    FlexBright developer Sam Al-Jamal told MacRumors he had worked with Apple through several app rejections to get FlexBright into the App Store and that no private APIs were in use, something that was seemingly confirmed by the app's approval, but further review from Apple led to FlexBright's removal. Al-Jamal has shared Apple's explanation with MacRumors following an "exhausting discussion" with the Cupertino company. "The bottomline is [Apple] won't allow apps to change screen colors," he said.

    The FlexBright app adjusted the temperature of the screen to make it more yellow, like Night Shift in iOS 9.3​

    Al-Jamal was given two technical reasons behind FlexBright's removal from the App Store. First, the app was using custom-created classes based on non-public APIs.
    Second, the app was using silent audio to keep FlexBright running in the background, a frowned-upon tactic that can result in battery drain. Late last year, the Facebook app for iOS was using excessive battery life, something caused in part by a silent audio component.

    FlexBright masked the silent audio with a music player to "justify the background music activity," something that Apple approved twice even though the music playing function doesn't appear to work.
    Apple asked Al-Jamal to remove the blue light filter to get FlexBright back on the App Store, but he declined so that users who have already purchased the app can keep the feature. "For all intended purposes, FlexBright is dead," he said. He does plan to go on to make a new app that will detect eye fatigue based on screen brightness and time spent on an iOS device.

    The developer behind FlexBright was using some questionable features to get the app to function, but its ability to slip past the App Store review process even through multiple rejections again puts a spotlight on Apple's inconsistencies and failures when it comes to reviewing apps. MacStories recently shared an in-depth look at the App Store review process, highlighting the problems and frustrations developers face, which rightly points out that the current review process is "harming the quality of apps on the App Store."

    Article Link: Apple Pulls 'FlexBright', Says iOS Apps That Adjust Display Temperature Aren't Allowed
  2. Klae17 macrumors 65816


    Jul 15, 2011
  3. JonneyGee macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    This is nothing new. And with 9.3 on the horizon, it's not really necessary anyway, although it might be nice to have extra options like Flux provides on Mac.
  4. arkhanjel macrumors regular


    Nov 3, 2003
  5. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68020


    Jun 12, 2015
  6. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    i have no problem with this. i can only imagine the mess it would cause with the average user dealing with third party apps and the troubleshooting nightmare it would cause, especially on the eve of the feature being implemented in iOS 9.3...

    imagine the average user complaining that their pictures look yellow or different and associating it with the camera or their screen and apple not being able to assume in any measure the fault of any one given app
  7. Bentron macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Get your app featured on MacRumors one day, pulled the next. Bring on iOS 9.3.
  8. atomic.flip, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    atomic.flip macrumors regular


    Dec 7, 2008
    Orange County, CA
    Apple is so full of itself when it does stuff like this. I hate to say this but I'm really glad that Microsoft is finally giving them a run for their money in the desktop and laptop space. Now with something like the Galaxy S7 from Samsung which has force touch and animated photos. Honestly Apple needs to mellow out a bit and let their app ecosystem flourish.

    - Clarification - Force touch did not make it into the S7 or S7 Edge, though it is being tested for use in a future handset from Samsung.
  9. rorschach macrumors 68020


    Jul 27, 2003

    - Basically using private APIs, even though not directly.
    - Claiming your app does one thing so that it can run in the background indefinitely, but it actually does something else.

    Yep, no surprise this got pulled.
  10. jdillings macrumors 68000

    Jun 21, 2015
  11. MasterRyu2011 macrumors 65816

    Aug 22, 2014

    You sure about this? None of the reviews mentioned it.
  12. Splatt123 macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2016
    I installed this yesterday. While it does work (at least it globally changes the screen temperature), looking at the Battery usage in settings, it's taken 53%, listed as "Background Activity".

    Probably best to wait for NightShift but I don't like the fact that Apple have stopped Low Power Mode when NightShift enabled. I suppose they were trying for a work-around and this isn't it.
  13. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Has the developer's claim with respect to what Apple had said at earlier stages actually been confirmed? People can say anything about Apple, the company will rarely comment anyway, even if it is an outright lie. I doubt that Apple would have ever been sympathetic to this kind of app, given that it is always going to be based on private APIs, which is a no-go for Apple.
  14. JonneyGee macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Makes you wonder, if someone installs 9.3 and has this app, would the color temperature be adjusted twice as much as it should?
  15. BSben macrumors 65816

    May 16, 2012
    It is annoying for the many people who have no device that supports Night Shift (and there are plenty of those), but the app looked dodgy, and awkward. I hope Apple will eventually make a Night Shift version for the Mac.
  16. AbSoluTc macrumors 601


    Sep 21, 2008
    What I don't get is, why was it approved to begin with? Why go through this whole song and dance, let it in, then a few days later give a reason why it was pulled. Why not prevent it altogether?
  17. meaning-matters macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2013
  18. MasterRyu2011 macrumors 65816

    Aug 22, 2014
    Is it a surprise that things fall through the cracks. Humans are involved. As long as humans are tasked to catch violations, it'll never be perfect.
  19. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    It would probably be a disaster, like looking at your submerged phone in a toilet full of days old unflushed piss
  20. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
  21. iThingsGurl macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2014
    I don't think so. A third party music app does not reduce volume twice that of Apple's own system volume.
  22. tmanto02 macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2011
    Good. Apple has strict approval policies to maintain a certain quality of apps.

    Of which Flexbright was not.
  23. elmateo487 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2008
    Yeah ok.... Like apple doesn't already have the best AppStore. I'd say flourishing is exactly what it is doing.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 9, 2016 ---
    Those. Are completely different things.
  24. d656 macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2015
    What shocks me is that it was approved in the first place. This is like the Instagram password theft app a while back.

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