Side loading is a technique for Apple iOS which involves using Xcode to install a piece of software.
F.lux is a popular desktop program, cross-platform, which allows the user to automatically adjust the brightness of their screen based on the time of day. The developers had recently created an iOS version but found a normal installation was not possible without requisite APIs in iOS, and so encouraged users to install the app using the Xcode method.
Also read: XcodeGhost Malware Threatens iOS users, FireEye Warns
Then Apple contacted the people at f.lux and told them they were being naughty. The developers quickly complied with the request, saying:
Apple has contacted us to say that the f.lux for iOS download (previously available on this page) is in violation of the Developer Program Agreement, so this method of install is no longer available.
They went on to list some statistics regarding the mobile device page of f.lux. In 24 hours, the page had been accessed almost 200,000 times. It went on to discuss why f.lux exists, which is to combat sleeplessness due to eye fatigue. The developers said that it’s become harder for people to properly undergo observation because many people are using their smart phones and other such devices right before bed. Thus a mobile client which had the same features as the desktop version would be valuable in determining whether or not it aided people in sleeping.
f.lux cannot ship an iOS App using the Documented APIs, because the APIs we use are not there. In the last 5 years, we have had numerous conversations with Apple about our product and what would be required to make it work with iOS. […] We respect Apple’s products enormously, and we urge Apple to allow work like ours to continue through Documented APIs.
It seems that at a time when Apple is finding its app store under attack from several directions that the company would make more efforts to encourage legitimate developers like f.lux. Apple suffered its first major malware breaches of the app store this year, the latest of which was most notable. A piece of software called InstaAgent passed all the app store requirements and went on to steal tens of thousands of Instagram login credentials. The company’s iron grip on what is and is not allowed in its operating systems is occasionally absurd, as in the case of f.lux, which appears to have significant demand.
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