Many have complained about Apple’s inconsistent application of its policies on its app stores, and that accusation is rearing its head once again due to a new spat with a developer. This week Apple has backed off from its previous threats to remove a popular app from the Mac App Store due to its controversial name.
At the start of the week, Apple contacted the developer of popular Mac app Amphetamine to say that the app violated app store guidelines. The app works to keep Macs from going into sleep mode, and Apple said that, particularly because of its name, the app violated guideline 1.4.3, which reads: “Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn’t allowed.”
Developer William Gustafson said in a GitHub post that he believed the app was not in violation of the guidelines, as the app does not promote the use of illegal drugs. He pointed out that amphetamines can be legally prescribed by doctors and that, “There is nothing illicit about, or inherently wrong with, the legal use of prescribed amphetamines.”
Another argument put forth by Gustafson and other fans of the app was that Apple applies its policies inconsistently. He pointed out a number of other apps that remain available on the App Store which seem to violate the rule against the promotion of illegal drugs in a more explicit way, but which are still available for download.
It is also notable that Amphetamine has been available on the App Store since 2014 and has been a popular and prominent app during that time, and Apple has only just decided to take action against it.
However, after an appeal by the developer and support from many Mac users, Apple has decided it will not remove Amphetamine from the app store. Gustafson posted a note on Twitter saying he had spoken with Apple on a phone call and that the company had accepted the app and would let it stay on the App Store.
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