Archive for November 13, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Forbids Sideloading f.lux

f.lux (comments):

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.

We understood that the new Xcode signing was designed to allow such use, but Apple has indicated that this should not continue.


It is proven that screens can negatively influence sleep, and we believe that f.lux makes a significant improvement, as it mirrors very closely the research on blocking blue light before bed. But as we’ve discovered, it is even difficult to conduct basic research in this area, because so many people today use mobile devices (with closed APIs) right before bed.


Technology and devices that know more about our bodies could make a major impact on health and wellness, and these are the reasons why we work on it every day.

For years, f.lux has been the app I most wanted to see on iOS. It really does make my life better and help me to sleep.

Juli Clover:

F.lux is a popular Mac app that’s been downloaded 15 million times, but with side-loading no longer available, f.lux for iOS is non-existant. F.lux’s developers are urging customers who want f.lux for iOS to send feedback to Apple, as the company would need new documented APIs to introduce the app through official channels.

Riccardo Mori:

Come on, Apple, at least allow f.lux’s developers to make available a regular f.lux iOS app. It really helps against eye strain.

iOS Developer Program License Agreement, 3.2(g) (via Jay Tamboli):

Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store, VPP/B2B Program Site, for beta distribution through Apple’s TestFlight Program, or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement

Mike Ash:

So every open source iOS app violates the rules? If so, the rules are insane.

Previously: Sideloading f.lux on iOS.

Update (2015-11-14): f.lux’s author:

If this were only about reverse-engineering or using LLVM to compile code I wrote, it would be reasonable to fight it. The remarkable thing about their agreement is that it concerns using information that is not provided under the agreement. This is a reasonable term for app store distribution, but it seems unprecedented and heavy-handed for unsigned binaries.

Ultimately, we pulled the app both to show good faith, and also because we were asking hundreds of thousands of people to use Xcode to make accounts and sign our software. When Apple calls up and says they don’t want that to happen, it is not really a thing you can fight. It’s their infrastructure, and they can decide how it is used.

We were feeling pretty good about introducing “building stuff in Xcode” to people who’ve never tried it before.

We have been as polite as we can to Apple in hopes that they will open up the platform to developers like us. The demand for f.lux is certainly incredible.

Riccardo Mori:

This isn’t hype — f.lux works. It works as advertised, and it’s great. I’m a night owl, I write a lot at night because it’s peaceful and I can concentrate better. Before using f.lux on my Macs, I always went to bed with red, teary, sore eyes. The strain was perceivable, and I had to take frequent breaks and turn the desk lamp off for a bit. And when I had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, I never ended up sleeping very well, either. After installing f.lux, everything changed instantly. At first it was strange to look at the altered colour temperature of the Mac’s screen, but I adjusted quickly, and the eye strain disappeared right away. As I’ve often said, f.lux saved my eyes.


Well, I urge Apple to reconsider and look the other way, or to work with f.lux’s developers to find a way to allow them to ship a regular iOS app. It saddens me that something this useful is not allowed on the App Store, while a generous quantity of utter, useless crap is.

Update (2015-11-22): Noah Kulwin:

“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, but they seem to disagree,” Michael Herf said. “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.”