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'Launcher' Returns to the App Store After Apple Relaxes Policies

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,099
11,359



Back when iOS 8 first launched, Launcher was one of the first apps to take advantage of the new widgets allowed in the Notification Center, and it introduced shortcut functionality that let users launch an app or complete a task like calling a specific person with a single tap.

Apple approved the app and allowed it to exist in the App Store for over a week, but then the company made the decision to remove Launcher from the App Store, calling it a "misuse" of widgets. Since then, Apple has gone on to make a series of questionable decisions about widgets, banning apps for similar widget offenses and then later changing its mind.

Up until now, Apple has not reversed course on Launcher, but that didn't stop Launcher developer Greg Gardner from continually resubmitting different variations of the app in the hopes of creating something Apple would find acceptable.

Earlier this month, a limited version of Launcher gained App Store approval (a version with only calling, emailing, messaging, and FaceTime access), and when Gardner asked for clarification on why that was acceptable when his original app was not, Apple reviewers opted to revisit the first Launcher app and stated that its functionality was now acceptable.

According to Gardner, he did not have to remove any of the original Launcher features to get it re-approved in the App Store. Apple reportedly told him that when a new feature first launches, they are conservative about what they allow, but restrictions sometimes relax over time. "That is what appears to have happened in this case," Gardner told MacRumors.

Due to Apple's decision reversal, Launcher will be available for download again beginning today. It's already propagating in some countries, and will be in the U.S. App Store tonight.

Launcher has retained all of its original functionality, which means users can download the app and use it to set up shortcuts that will appear in the Today view of the Notification Center. Available shortcuts are organized into four sections: Contact Launcher, Web Launcher, App Launcher, and Custom Launcher.

With the Contact Launcher, it's possible to create shortcuts to call someone, email someone, FaceTime someone, get directions to a specific place, Message someone, and more. The Web Launcher sets up shortcuts that will automatically launch a specified URL, and the App Launcher lets users open a specified app and works with both Apple apps and third-party apps. The Custom feature lets users create buttons for any installed apps and any other URL schemes.

Launcher also offers a few new features, including a much-requested option to make the icons smaller and hide labels for a more compact look within the Notification Center.

Launcher can be downloaded from the App Store for free, and the pro version is available as a $3.99 in-app purchase. The app is still rolling out to App Stores so it may take a short while before it is widely available to everyone. [Direct Link]

Article Link: 'Launcher' Returns to the App Store After Apple Relaxes Policies
 

newtestleper

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2013
544
826
We waste days browsing Facebook and the like but, my God, we need a quick access point to call or email somebody. Phew.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,901
4,715
Hmm... if it were free I'd definitely download it to see if it were useful... but I'm having a hard time imagining that I would use it at all so I'm hesitant to throw $3.99 at it only to find out that it's useless to me.

Edit: I was mistaken, as many have pointed out. There is a free version that allows you to have a few shortcuts in your notification center, and then you can pay $3.99 as an IAP to put even more shortcuts in your notification center. So I guess I'll download this.
 
Last edited:

ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
5,391
6,469
Toronto, ON
I hope iOS 9 introduces a Dashboard. These widgets make absolutely no sense in the Notifications pull down. Dashboard would be great to the left of the first Home screen (where Search used to be).
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,315
814
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Love that we can now make the icons smaller on this new version. :cool:

I hope iOS 9 introduces a Dashboard. These widgets make absolutely no sense in the Notifications pull down. Dashboard would be great to the left of the first Home screen (where Search used to be).

I don't want to have to unlock my device all the time. It makes sense for some things.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,776
3,277
Hmm... if it were free I'd definitely download it to see if it were useful... but I'm having a hard time imagining that I would use it at all so I'm hesitant to throw $3.99 at it only to find out that it's useless to me.
It is actually free. $3.99 unlocks ability to add 3 more rows of apps, adjust size of each icon, and hide app names.

Having said that, I have used Launcher in the past and I didn't find launching apps from Today widgets screen to be better than the home screen. Your mileage may vary of course.
 

BlueParadox

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
286
226
Melbourne, Australia
Awesome news! I was fortunate to grab the app before Apple removed it last September, and I really like it. Use it every day. Their other music launcher app is handy as well. Recommend both!
 

CrzyP

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2012
320
117
Isn't there privacy concerns with this app? I thought it sold usage stats to a third party.
 

hlfway2anywhere

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2006
1,429
2,004
It is actually free. $3.99 unlocks ability to add 3 more rows of apps, adjust size of each icon, and hide app names.

Having said that, I have used Launcher in the past and I didn't find launching apps from Today widgets screen to be better than the home screen. Your mileage may vary of course.

It's main usage isn't really for "launching apps." It's for creating shortcuts. I use it to create a shortcut to my frequent locations for directions in maps, for the Sound settings pane so i can toggle vibrate on/off, frequent facetime/phone calls i make. All which require more taps by going through the actual apps themselves.
 

don pianta

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2009
112
1
Cincinnati
"this app is no longer available"

I'm going to assume that it just isn't ready to download in my region yet... Otherwise it got taken down VERY fast.
 
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