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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.”

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.

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