Apple has reversed its decision to give the developer of the Amphetamine app two weeks to “remove all references to the word ‘amphetamine’ and remove the pill from the icon” or see the app removed from the App Store on January 12th, according to The Verge.
Amphetamine is a simple app for Macs that prevents them from going into sleep mode and allows users to set specific actions as triggers to put their Macs into sleep mode on command.
The app itself makes no references to any controlled substances and does not promote their use in any way, so it came as quite the surprise to the app’s developer, William C. Gustafson, when he was contacted by Apple on December 29 and was told that his app “appears to promote inappropriate use of controlled substances. Specifically, your app name and icon include references to controlled substances, pills.”
Apple believed that the app was in violation of the following App Store guideline:
“Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco or 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.”
What’s even crazier is that Amphetamine has been on the App Store since 2014, has a rating of 4.8, has been downloaded over 432,000 times, and the developer has had various interactions with Apple employees in the past to update the app, with no red flags ever being raised.
Renaming the app or changing its branding would have destroyed Amphetamine’s brand recognition, which is why Gustafson went for a ‘hail mary’ and appealed Apple’s decision. In a surprising turn of events, Apple reversed its verdict on Saturday.
Apple is patently obstinate in adhering to its App Store rules and guidelines, and while Amphetamine lives to fight another day, many in similar situations aren’t as fortunate.
Numerous major app developers like Epic Games feel that Apple’s rules (and its strictness in enforcing them) result in an anti-competitive environment and an uneven playing field in the App Store. Amidst mounting concerns over the issue, Epic Games has partnered with like-minded developers and companies to form the Coalition for App Fairness.