Archive for October 4, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apps Removed From the App Store’s “Purchased” Tab

Peter Cohen:

iPhoto and Aperture were both discontinued earlier this year when Apple released Photos for OS X Yosemite. While Apple no longer sells the apps, it continued to make them available for download for users who had bought them. At some recent point, those links — in Mac App Store users’ Purchased list — disappeared.

Husain Sumra:

The disappearance of the ability to re-download older software irked users, with some calling the action “user hostile.” It’s unclear if Apple pulled the software intentionally or whether the Mac App Store experienced a temporary bug in advance of the availability of OS X El Capitan. However, the software was unavailable for several days before returning tonight.


As noted by several readers, some discontinued software including Logic Pro 9 and older versions of OS X Server remain unavailable for re-download from the Purchased tab.

This was not limited to Apple apps. Panic’s Coda, as well as their Prompt app for iOS, were also removed (but now seem to be back).

Update (2015-10-07): Eli Hodapp (via Paul Haddad):

If you’ve been following the drama over the last week or so surrounding classic premium games vanishing from App Store purchase histories, strap in for the equally disappointing and baffling conclusion to it all: According to Apple, apps that are no longer for sale on the App Store also will not be available to download again in your App Store purchase history. I’m really just sort of at a loss as to what to even say about all this anymore. Originally it seemed like it was easy to assume big publishers were pulling things they didn’t want to support, particularly with the erie silence from them. When those same developers finally formulated a response and were just as confused as we were, things got interesting. Never in a million years would I ever have thought this was an unannounced policy change direct from Apple, but, here we are.

It’s particularly puzzling, as for years now Apple has been championing the wonders of iCloud backups. I’d go as far as to say most iOS users, at least the ones I know, don’t sync anything to iTunes anymore, as there hasn’t been any real reason to since iOS 5. […] With this recent Apple policy change, you can no longer trust iCloud as a backup method as your apps will only exist for re-download as long as they’re available for sale on the App Store. If an app gets removed now, and also purged from your purchase history, if you’re not backing up locally via iTunes you’re out of luck and Apple’s response is to go pound sand.

Update (2015-10-07): Eli Hodapp:

We fired off a cursory email to Apple, but felt confident publishing this as both historically Pocket Gamer writes stories based on good sources and in nearly a decade of working with Apple, everyone gets the same response. Apple’s PR is a well oiled machine with two settings: No response (or a “No comment”) or the response. I just got off the phone with Apple’s US PR who have assured me there has been no policy change, and they’re in the process of getting an official statement approved which will be released today.

Update (2015-10-08): Rene Ritchie:

It was a bug, Apple fixed it, and purchase histories were restored. Now a similar bug has been fixed on the iOS App Store, and purchase histories there are also being restored.

Safari’s Responsive Design Mode

Kirk McElhearn:

You can view the web page easily as it displays on a range of iOS devices, as well as other browser resolutions, by clicking the icons above the page display. You can also choose the user agent (which web browser is being emulated), and choose to view your assets in 1x, 2x, or 3x.

This sounded great, but I thought it would actually preview what the page looks like on the various devices, and it doesn’t do that. Rather than show the page as the selected device would display it, it seems to just force the page to the given device width, ignoring any viewport that you’ve set. In other words, it’s like it always uses width=device-width even if that’s not what your HTML says.

Even then, the display doesn’t always match what I see on my iPhone. For example, on the September archive page the Mac shows the gray box for the date at full width (with a slight margin on either side), but the actual iPhone 6s shows a large (and undesirable) margin on the right side of the entire page.

See also WWDC 2015 session 505 (video, PDF).

Update (2015-10-04): @chucker pointed out the source of the margin problem, and I fixed it by setting code and heading tags to word-wrap: break-word when the width is narrow. The iOS simulator is more accurate at previewing.

Update (2015-10-06): Casey Liss notes that you can click on the iOS device icons to preview different rotations and multitasking modes.

Update (2015-10-08): Dr. Drang:

Not exactly a faithful representation. And it’s no better in landscape.

Apple’s 30% App Store Fee on Refunds

Johannes Erschbamer:

Nice, Apple now subtracts only the developer proceeds on refunds. Previously this included Apple’s cut, which meant a loss on every refund!

Johannes Erschbamer:

Previously I made a small loss on every refund. The one from yesterday was exactly the amount I got before.

It sounds like Apple still reserves the right to keep all of its fee, but that it is no longer actually doing so. In 2009, Rene Ritchie was unable to find any cases where Apple wasn’t eating the fee. But I’ve definitely heard of developers saying that they’ve had to pay it.

Deprecating Instapaper Mobilizer


Instapaper Mobilizer has been a popular way for individuals and third-party applications to use the Instapaper parser without needing API access or an Instapaper account. However, since the mobilizer is completely separate from the core Instapaper service, does not add any value for our customers, and costs money to operate, the team feels it is best to discontinue the service after December 1st.

That’s certainly understandable, but it’s too bad because I haven’t seen anything else that was as good. It would be nice if paying customers could still use it. Looks like I’ll need to find another processing tool to offer in EagleFiler.

Alex King, RIP

I was saddened to hear of the passing of longtime WordPress developer and blog friend Alex King.

Matt Mullenweg:

Alex had a background as a designer before he learned development, and I think that really came through as he was one of those rare people who thought about the design and usability of his code, the opposite of most development that drifts toward entropy and complexity. One of my favorite things about Alex was how darn tasteful he was. He would think about every aspect of something he built, every place someone could click, every path they could go down, and gave a thoughtfulness to these paths that I still admire and envy today.


Alex believed so deeply in open source, and was one of the few people from a design background who did. (Every time you see the share icon on the web or in Android you should think of him.) I like the idea that part of his work will continue in software for decades to come, but I’d rather have him here, thinking outside the box and challenging us to do better, to be more obvious, and work harder for our users.

See also: