Apple bans F.lux screen brightness app for sideloading

Apple computers, headquarters
Apple has changed its mind about the popular screen brightness management tool F.lux. Apparently, the company claims F.lux’s developers weren’t allowed to use Xcode or the iOS standard developer kit to sideload the app.

In case you’ve never heard of it, F.lux is a program for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Linux that controls screen brightness and color, changing it gradually throughout the day. Enter what kind of lighting you have, and the program changes your screen to match the room. The app keeps you from being blinded in the morning or late night by your device’s bright screen. According to scientists, a dimmer screen emitting less blue light is better for your eyes — especially before bed.

In part because of its health benefits and all the recent news that warns against using devices before bed, F.lux has done really well. The desktop version has more than 15 million downloads, and the sideloaded iOS version was picking up steam — until Apple banned it.

“He kept repeating the party line that we should make apps that could use Public APIs.”

The sudden change caught F.lux developers off guard since the program has been widely popular and they haven’t had any complaints since Apple opened iPhones and iPads to apps outside the App Store months ago. In June, Apple changed its stance from previous years to allow users to sideload apps with its Xcode developer tool. The makers of F.lux took advantage of the new policy.

As Re/code has it, Michael Herf, one of F.lux’s founders, said, “The last six months of ‘sideload’ press – which Apple didn’t try to stop – had convinced us that Apple would be receptive to an approach like this.” Other than a little update from Apple in September, everything appeared to be fine as far as generally allowing sideloading — until now.

Suddenly, Apple seems “to disagree,” and has put the kibosh on F.lux, informing Michael that he and his team “were not authorized to use the iOS SDK or Xcode for the purpose we did,” Michael said, adding he was told that, “we could not distribute F.lux as we did.”

When Michael asked Richard Chipman, the Apple Rep about other cases that are similar to F.lux, he was evasive. “I asked him about open source used in a similar way, and he did not answer clearly, but he kept repeating the party line that we should make apps that could use Public APIs.”

By comparison, Android doesn’t require tools to sideload apps or have such strict developer limits on APIs. Why, then, does Apple? Some have suggested it’s because Apple doesn’t like anyone messing with the look of the iPhone beyond what it explicitly allows or that the limitations are intended to keep iOS secure.

Others suggest that Apple wants to take over F.lux’s game. The company cites research claiming the changes F.lux makes to your screen lighting are better for your health, and Apple is stepping further into the health tech arena. If Apple were including its own F.lux-like option in an upcoming iOS update — or as Erica Joy tweeted, a Night Mode — it wouldn’t want any competition. That way, Apple would no doubt boast about its revolutionary new screen tech, and thus removing F.lux from the picture.

Of course this is all speculation, at the moment. So far, Apple hasn’t commented on the situation.


Ransomware tool causing chaos in Baltimore was developed by the NSA

A recent spate of ransomware attacks in Baltimore and other cities was executed using a tool developed by the National Security Agency. Thousands of people have been locked out of their computers in the past three weeks.

Riot Games and Tencent are developing League of Legends for mobile devices

Sources have revealed a collaboration between Tencent and Riot Games that will see a mobile version of League of Legends developed. Tencent owns Riot Games and also developed the mobile MOBA Honour of Kings in China.

Apple sends out invites for WWDC 2019, and unicorns are involved

Apple developers and fans alike look forward every year to the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC. Apple has confirmed the conference will take place on June 3-7, and the company just sent out invites.

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

These are the 20 best Android games you can play offline

Even in our increasingly connected world, you don't always have an internet connection on the go. To help you pass the time when you're disconnected, we compiled a list of the best Android games that can be played offline.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Product Review

Oppo’s cutting-edge Reno has a shark fin pop-up camera, and plenty of bite

The Oppo Reno has a very cool shark fin-style pop-up camera to make it stand out in a crowd, and a rear camera with a 10x zoom, plus there’s a 5G version coming soon. It’s truly up-to-date, with plenty of cutting-edge tech inside.

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.

Qustodio drops prices 10% on premium parental control software plans

With school almost out for summer, now is a prime time to keep your children's content consumption in check and protect your own peace of mind with Qustodio's premium parental control software plans, now available at 10% off.

As stock Android spreads, is it time for Android manufacturer skins to die?

Many Android device manufacturers seem to be moving towards a stock Android look and ditching separate skins, but there are a few notable exceptions. Do manufacturer interfaces for Android still add value, or is it time for them to die?

Prevent a broken screen with the best Google Pixel 3a XL screen protectors

The Pixel 3a XL is a solid choice if you're looking for a midrange phone with a large screen and a great camera. But it still needs protecting. Here are the best Pixel 3a XL screen protectors to keep your big display safe.

Guard your Galaxy with the best Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus screen protectors

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are two of the best phones to ever grace this planet -- but the screen still isn't brick-proof. Here are the best Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus screen protectors to keep yours safe.

Huawei's situation in the U.S. may improve when trade war is resolved

The U.S. Commerce Department has added Huawei to its "Entity List." Google, Intel, and ARM are all confirmed or rumored to be ceasing business with the company, which may have disastrous effects on Huawei.

Best Memorial Day sales 2019: Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart deals

If you're looking to save big on some shiny new stuff for Memorial Day 2019, we've gathered everything you need to know into one place. Find out where to save the most money before the summer hits its stride.