Home / News / Mobile App News / Apple tells f.lux to shut down iOS screen dimming app

Apple tells f.lux to shut down iOS screen dimming app



The developers behind the popular cross platform screen dimming tool f.lux have explained why Apple booted their iOS version from the platform.

The program, which automatically alters display brightness depending on the time of day, had arrived on the platform late last week via a back door. The app wasn’t published to the App Store, but rather via the f.lux website.

Previously only users who had deliberately jailbroken their phones were able to access the tool, but the developers found a workaround to allow f.lux to be installed on all iOS devices.

Apple counted this as side loading, contravening its developer guidelines, and immediately instructed f.lux to remove the tool; a request the makers quickly heeded.

The co-founder, ex-Googler Michael Herf told Recode he was “not authorized to use the iOS SDK or Xcode for the purpose we did, and we could not distribute f.lux as we did.

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,” he added.

“I asked [Apple representative Richard Chipman] 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.”

See also: 10 best iPhone apps

Herf speculates Apple was quick to put the kibosh on the tool because it is thinking about building a similar tool.

“When you poke around in their APIs, it’s not a big leap to say they’re thinking about the topic,” he said.

A version of f.lux for iOS devices would be great for users who’re using their devices late at night. A recent study from sleep scientists has called for all devices to come with a bedtime mode as standard.


November 17, 2015, 6:58 am

and that, after they got such great publicity on the BBC. Why don't they do an Android version instead of trying to please Apple?


November 17, 2015, 10:57 am

I'd imagine Apple would put the smack down for sideloading, regardless of whether they an f.lux-like OS feature in the works. If f.lux are seen to get away with it, why shouldn't anyone else try it on?

Besides, changing the display's white balance / brightness based on the time of day isn't exactly rocket science - probably a few lines of code.


November 17, 2015, 11:37 am

I'm still trying to get my head round this. Not the story as such, but the fact that there is any kind of market for an app like this. As a long time user of the Tasker app for Android, automatic screen dimming at night is one of the first things I set up. However, don't most of the device manufacturers package software which does this kind of automatic profile switching too? Certainly, the handset I am using currently (a Motorola one) does. Doesn't Apple already do this?

Alex Lungu

November 17, 2015, 3:34 pm

It's a different kind of screen dimming. It gets warmer as the sun sets so your eyes don't get overly tired. It's awesome to have on your laptop/desktop.


November 17, 2015, 10:50 pm

f.lux doesn't just dim, it shifts the color balance away from the blue tones (if I remember right) that are in sunlight and trick your body into thinking it should be awake. It asks for your location and does its work based on the sunrise/sunset of where you're at.

I have it on my laptop and it seems to work, I feel much less wired when I work late and head right to bed. I have not installed it on my iPhone, but wish it was an allowed app because I'd download it in a heartbeat...

comments powered by Disqus