WiFi detector iPhone apps pulled from Apple AppStore

Surprise! Apple has pulled yet another app from the shelves of its iPhone AppStore. As part of their apparent push to clean up the AppStore for the sake of wholesomeness and compatibility, Apple has suddenly and inexplicably given WiFi-detecting apps the boot from the largest and most prolific mobile app store on planet Earth. These apps, which use the iPhone’s WiFi radio to actively scan for nearby wireless hotspots, are no longer available. Meanwhile, another boob app has found its way onto the AppStore.

In true Apple fashion, the apps were banned without so much as a decent explanation to the apps’ respective developers. According to one developer, Apple contacted them to let them know that their WiFi scanner app is no longer welcome in the AppStore due to its use of some sort of “private framework” to find hotspots. The ban includes all apps that actively detect WiFi networks. Those that help you find nearby networks by way of a hotspot database are still good to go and can still be downloaded.

Apple is keeping mum on why – aside from the mention of a vague “private framework” – the apps are being banned. The Register posits that Apple is working to make all AppStore apps cross-compatible between the iPhone and the upcoming iPad. Assuming the iPad lacks the framework that these WiFi scanner app use, it would make sense that Apple not allow apps that won’t work on all their iPhone OS devices.

Again, the eaten-fruit company can do whatever they damn well please. It’s their business and they’ll run it however they see fit. But, when their silence and unwillingness to work with developers starts to affect small time iPhone app makers’ paycheck, we have a problem. Is it too much to ask for a more detailed explanation as to why a certain app got kicked out?

[Via: TheRegister]

  • Sergey Brin

    I still can’t understand why anyone would support such a system. Vote with your wallets people!

  • reinharden

    If you’re a developer and Apple tells you that you’re app has been pulled for using a private framework, you know the reason why.

    Just because the author (or the readers) don’t necessarily know the meaning of “private framework” doesn’t mean that Apple and the software developers don’t know. ūüėČ

    Everybody who wrote a Wi-Fi scanner knew that they were using a private framework (aka non-public information that Apple always states will not necessarily remain unchanged or continued to be supported going forward). As this author notes, I suspect that Apple discovered that these apps, which Apple had previously let slide, ran into troubles when their twiddling of private bits broke Wi-Fi on the iPad.

    If Apple had to choose between delaying the iPad or pulling Wi-Fi scanners, I believe that they made the right chose. Now I just hope that Apple finishes putting together a public Wi-Fi framework that enables Wi-Fi scanning without needing access to private information.


    • Brian Stormont

      I completely agree with Reinharden.

      When the iPhone first came out, one of the first apps I looked into writing was a WiFi scanner. I quickly discovered it would obviously require the use of private APIs and as such would violate the iPhone SDK license agreement. The license agreement clearly states using private APIs is not allowed, so I ditched the idea.

      A few months later, I was surprised to see WiFi scanning apps appear in the store. I contacted one of the developers and asked how he managed to get the app done without using a private API. Not surprising, he stated he did in fact use private APIs. He added that he figured he’d take a calculated risk and see if it would get approved anyhow.

      As Reinhard said, any developer who developed a WiFi scanning app certainly new they were using private APIs and it is clearly stated in the licensing agreement that this is not allowed.

      I’m just surprised Apple took so long to enforce their policy.

  • Montana

    There are still plenty of wifi scanners for iPhone. This was a pretty stupid move done by Apple. Remember, Apple, the customer is always right.

    • jdwegner

      The customer is right when the customer is reasonable. The customer is not ALWAYS right. I agree with Reinharden.

  • Montana

    On top of that, instead of taking these apps down for the iPad, Apple could just mark the apps as not being compatible with the iPad.

    • Alabama B

      I have "WiFiFoFum" on my iPod touch and for this reason I'd NEVER sell it!!! It's nice to see ALL networks around you and which ones aren't secure! Sweetest app! I will find a way to transfer it to my my (and all my friends) iPad!

  • Storminpe

    So does anyone know how to¬†complain¬†to Apple about this? ¬†Looks like it has been over a year and they¬†haven’t¬†come up with an¬†answer¬†for those who would like to have this ability on their phones. ¬†I had a nice wi fi scanner and¬†analyzer¬†on my Android and think this is¬†another¬†strike¬†against¬†Apple when considering future phones.

  • Chaoszen

    I suppose the real question would be why Apple did not accomodate any non-private API to allow for this in-demand functionality. There are so many seemingly simple means to make this available to developers and consumers that the only assumption that really stands out is evident when a person searches the app store and sees only comercial wi-fi databases, promoting specific networks and business locations. Can you be certain without a doubt that the whole decision has absolutely nothing to do with simply providing a means for comercial businesses and services to proffit, where a simple wi-fi scanner would be of better use, more complete in information and less cost to the application consumers?

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