Friday, August 28, 2020

App Rejected for Using Unofficial Tesla API

Filipe Espósito:

Watch app for Tesla” is a popular app that lets users check useful information and send commands to a Tesla vehicle directly from an Apple Watch. However, the availability of this app may be threatened as Apple has been reinforcing its guidelines related to third-party APIs, which may require the developer to remove their app from the App Store.


The company has argued that the only way to have an app with an unofficial third party API approved in the App Store is by having the written consent of the owner of that service, which in this case is Tesla.


Although the rejection of the app has only occurred now, Apple’s decision is based on an old policy — which for some reason is sometimes ignored by the company. Section 5.2.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines emphasizes that apps are not allowed to use third-party services without prior authorization due to intellectual property issues.


Apple once again reached out to the developer and the company agreed to release the latest update of Watch app for Tesla on the App Store until this situation is thoroughly investigated.

This seems like a straightforward violation of the guidelines, but (a) it is not evenly enforced, and (b) I’m not sure the guideline makes sense. In the general case, it’s not possible to prove that you have permission to use an API. Why is it Apple’s business to investigate this? And what about apps like Paw that can be used with arbitrary APIs? Does an IMAP client use an API of an unlimited number of third-party services?


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

It’s also worth noting that this sort of apps existed for _years_ (Remote S being a prominent one), are quite popular among Tesla owners, Tesla is aware of them and tolerates them. Apple is just being a dick here as usual.

Guessing that rule is a way to stop the unofficial Instagram and Pinterest clients that flooded the Mac App Store at one time. No idea if they ever did remove those though, somehow I doubt it.

Same problem here. Tried to get a German Tesla-related app to be released at the App Store, but without any success. Other apps were approved, though - so this is kind of unfair… as you wrote, @vs, Tesla is tolerating these apps - but you need an official statement of Tesla to use that as an argument.

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