IPhone App Developers Sign Petition to Return F.lux to iOS

January 29, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Apple set itself at odds with the iPhone app development community the past couple weeks with an unexpected ban of the F.lux app — suspiciously timed with the release of native F.lux-like functionality to iOS 9.3.

Quick recap: F.lux is a third-party app for iOS devices that reduces the blue light emitted from backlit screens in sync with users’ sleep patterns. Studies have show that exposure to excessive blue light in the evening disrupts the body’s natural release of melatonin, causing sleep difficulties and other health problems related to disrupted or poor-quality sleep cycles.

For Chicago iPhone app developers, technologists, and anybody who spends more than a couple hours a day on their iOS devices, F.lux has become a necessity. (Just search “F.lux” on Twitter and you’ll find hundreds of iPhone app developers singing its praises.)

Unfortunately, previous versions of F.lux for iOS mobile devices would only work for jailbroken iPhones and iPads. So it was a relief when F.lux iPhone app developers released an official, risk-free version to the App Store in November 2015. The relief was shortlived, however, as it turned out the app’s private API usage was somehow in violation of the Apple Developer Agreement.

While the violations of the developer agreement may be legitimate, over 5,000 users signed a petition demanding that F.lux be returned to the app store and made more available for iOS users — even though Apple’s new native “Night Shift” feature mirrored much of the F.lux functionality users are accustomed to.

IPhone app developers have been quick to point out Apple’s practice of borrowing and adopting ideas from third-party “jailbroken” apps and tools. While borrowing ideas from the iPhone app development community is certainly expected and approved of, users can hope that Apple will make third-party solutions to the blue light issue available again soon. Both Apple and the iPhone app development community stand to benefit from an open ecosystem where developers are free to build upon and improve native functionality.

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