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We're Leaving Apple's App Store (iOS)
Our iOS Apps: Important Information
Last Updated: 5/7/2020
Thank you for your patronage of our apps over the years. We really appreciate your support. Unfortunately, after nine years of being enrolled in Apple's iOS Developer Program - which translates to over 75% of the Apple App Store's entire existence (as they introduced the store in 7/2008 and we started with them in 6/2011) - and thousands & thousands of app sales, we are sad to report that we expect to pull out entirely from Apple's App Store. Please see below for additional information.
When Will We Pull Out Of Apple's App Store?
We expect to pull out of Apple's App Store in July at the end of our current term (7/12/2020).
Why Are We Pulling Out Of Apple's App Store?
In summary, we feel that Apple tends to abuse their monopoly power. In our case, we believe that they have been unfair, unreasonable, excessively demanding, not accountable, controlling/dictatorial, etc. We have concerns about their 'planned obsolescence' policies, their 'poor & disparate' treatment of developers, their 'apparent unwillingness to communicate in good faith', and various other concerns. [Note: For more detail, please try this site.]
Does This Affect Our Android Apps?
This does NOT directly affect our Android apps.
Is Our Withdrawal From Apple's App Store Permanent?
While we expect our withdrawal from Apple's App Store to be permanent (barring any unforeseen changes), we remain hopeful that regulators may, in the future, provide a path for iOS developers to sell apps outside the 'Apple ecosystem'.
Once we leave Apple's App Store, we have no control over what will happen to already purchased apps. Apps currently running on a device may continue to run without issue (at least for a while - perhaps until a certain iOS update). Regrettably however, after developers leave the Apple App Store, Apple may ultimately prevent customers from accessing those developers' apps that customers had paid Apple for (e.g. on new devices, after an uninstall, etc.). Again, we have no control over this, but we do apologize for the situation. [BTW, personally, as Apple customers, we agree that Apple's polices in this regard are unfair/wrong, and we strongly wish Apple would stop such 'egregious' practices.]
Will A Backup Prevent The Loss Of Apps?
Unfortunately, backups may *not* prevent the loss of apps after developers leave the Apple App Store. And once again, we have no control over this situation. In any event, we encourage you to try to backup the apps if you can.
Can Customers Purchase Our Apps From Apple's App Store Now?
It should be possible to purchase remaining apps from Apple's App Store until we exit the store (try here for links). Please be advised however, that the lifespan of the apps purchased may be short lived (see above).
Can We Send Customers Copies Of Apps?
Unfortunately, we cannot. As the apps were purchased through Apple, please contact them for assistance.
Can We Send Customers Refunds?
Sorry, no. As the apps were purchased through Apple, please contact them for assistance.
Sorry, but once we leave Apple's App Store, we would not be able to provide individual iOS tech support. As time goes by and Apple updates the iOS, it may be anticipated that various aspects of prior apps will no longer function and/or appear as expected. As we would no longer be enrolled in Apple's Developer Program, we would not be able to offer updates or fixes. [Note: For some 'technical support considerations' concerning our apps, please see below (scroll down or click here).]
What Should Customers Do Who Miss The Content Of Our iOS Apps?
We are sorry if you find yourself missing the content of our iOS apps. We likewise regret the situation. As an alternative to our iOS apps, please consider that we may have some similar offerings in books (click here), and/or Android apps (click here). Please also see applicable related websites for similar resources (e.g. try here).
Will We Be Updating Our Sites Concerning Our Exit From Apple's App Store?
As we are already very backlogged, and with changes introduced a while back on our end, we do not expect to be extensively updating our sites concerning our exit from the App Store in the foreseeable future. However, we may 'redirect' some - but not all - links (e.g. to this page). We apologize for any inconvenience.
Is There Anything That Can Be Done?
First, consider downloading all purchased apps to all your applicable device(s) at this time. Although this is not a long term solution, retaining the apps on existing devices may provide some opportunity for additional use of the app(s) after we leave Apple's App Store.
Second, please contact Apple with any complaints (try online for their contact information). We imagine that we can't realistically hope for change unless customers and/or regulators demand it from them.
Third, please feel free to submit your feedback to us (try here for online form). We love to hear from you! [Please Note: We would especially like to hear thoughts from disgruntled developers/former developers & customers, attorneys, and regulators. Should you be able to offer any assistance with this situation, kindly let us know.]
Lastly, if applicable, please also contact government officials with complaints and/or requests (try online for their contact information). Again, we imagine that we can't realistically hope for change unless customers and/or regulators demand it from them.
Thank You For Your Support!
Note: Please also try here for additional detail regarding our concerns & experiences with Apple.
We recently sent the following questions to Apple in response to apps they rejected (more detail here), after we failed for months to receive suitable answers from them. We have included the message below for interested parties...
Since you said you are "determined to answer [our] questions", below are some questions (in no particular order) that we would like to get reasonable & direct answers to (many of which we have already tried - unsuccessfully - to get answers to over the months). Please show us that you are actually determined to answer our questions by actually answering them with direct & reasonable responses. Thank you.
1. Can you not see any value in having different apps for different types of notes (e.g. 'Pending', 'Urgent')? To be able to have two different apps open and viewable while scrolling (e.g. one for 'Pending' note, one for 'Urgent' note)? If you don't see any value in this, why exactly not? And do you think all Apple customers worldwide have the same uniform judgment as you do? If you (or they) do see the value, then why prohibit our apps?
2. You wouldn't want users to have to put an "Urgent" note in a clearly defined "Pending" note app would you? If so, why?
3. Can you please explain why exactly you consider our apps - which are NOT the same - to be in violation of guidelines which specifically say "of the SAME" app?
4. How exactly can [a] 'Pending' note app be 'spam' because there is already a 'Do Today' note?
5. How can "Simple Note: Remember" be considered merely a "level of urgency"?
6. Why do you feel it is fair to apply different criteria to our apps than what is stated in your own written guidelines?
7. Why exactly do you consider our apps - which you have admitted are NOT the same - to be in violation of guidelines which say "of the SAME" app?
8. How can you state that our apps are "out of compliance with App Store Review Guidelines 4.3" when they are NOT out of compliance with the actual published text of 4.3 ["Don't create multiple Bundle IDs of THE SAME APP..." (emphasis added)]?
9. How is it you can publish one set of standards but apply a different set of standards?
10. Why is it you are claiming the apps violate 4.3 when you yourself admit they do not?...
<<...you may consider consolidating your SIMILAR apps... >> (your comments, emphasis added)
Why are you applying a standard of 'similarity', when your guidelines specifically state "THE SAME"?
11. As Apple has admitted, our apps are NOT the same. Furthermore, it strains logic to consider them the same. For example, a user could NOT rightly use our 'Pending' note app for an 'Urgent' note. So how exactly could the apps be the 'same' or 'duplicates'?
12. How is it you are 'changing the guidelines in the middle of the game' while continuing to publish the old guidelines?
13. Does the grocery store 'spam' customers by offering several similar bread products? Don't customers appreciate having more choices in order to meet their bread needs? Then why would apps not work in a similar fashion? Do you actually think customers prefer fewer choices when they purchase an app? If you feel customers would get overwhelmed by the number of choices, isn't the more appropriate solution to provide better search tools for customers to locate desired apps rather than rejecting perfectly good apps without any input whatsoever from customers?
14. Presumably your rule 4.3 is designed to benefit the customer, so how exactly does it benefit the customer to take away their choices (e.g. to prohibit a perfectly functional 'go to' app for an Urgent note simply because there already is a similar 'Do Today' app, or to prohibit a perfectly functional 'go to' place for a Pending note because there is already a similar 'Do Today' app)? Outside of device safety issues, who decided Apple should be the sole determiner of what apps customers are allow to buy? Where did customers agree to this infringement of their freedom?
15. Pretend for a moment all 9 of our Simple Note apps were approved and you personally had 'Simple Note: Urgent' and 'Simple Note: Pending' on your device - with each app's icon (not to mention inside the app) boldly labeled "URGENT" or "PENDING". You'd really consider them duplicates? You'd really be indifferent as to which one to put an 'urgent' note in? You'd really put your urgent note in the 'pending' note app?
16. With your frequently proposed app consolidation 'fix' - that we have told you would NOT work as it would ruin the apps and be inconvenient & essentially useless for customers - why is it you want to take a 'go to' place for a specific kind of note and turn it into a generic note app with a generic icon that is used for many things, resulting in a total loss of identity for the app? Do you not see the apps' entire reason for being is annihilated by your supposed solution? And how is it you can intentionally propose a 'solution' that would ruin the app for "pretty much all" customers? Furthermore, do you fail to see the irony that - to prevent 'spam' - your proposed 'solution' would make our unique apps similar to so many other generic note apps in the app store? Doesn't this 'solution' of yours serve to increase rather than decrease 'spam'?
17. Why can others' apps which are even more similar to each other than ours be approved and ours not be?
18. Why does Apple not apply their rules uniformly to all developers?
19. Why exactly do you consider our perfectly reasonable proposal to pull the currently approved app and replace it with another app that we think might sell better to be "not appropriate"?
20. How could there still be a 4.3 ('spam') issue if there is only one app live in the store at any given time (i.e. if we pulled the approved app in favor of one of the rejected apps)? How exactly can one single app in the App Store be spam?
21. So if a developer sells and then removes an app that that had been used for one single purpose, they can't subsequently develop a similar app for an entirely different use? A developer who formerly sold a 'do today' app can't have a 'pending' app? How exactly would two different apps that cannot be used for the same thing be a violation of 4.3 by any reasonable interpretation...?<<4.3 Spam
Don't create multiple Bundle IDs of THE SAME APP...>> (your guidelines, emphasis added)
22. How can any 4.3 ('spam') issue remain if there is only one app live in the store? If we were to pull the live app (Simple Note: Do Today), why exactly would you not approve another app in its place? How can it be 'spam' if there are *NO* apps live in the app store?
23. Please explain how if there are NO Simple Note apps in the store - zero, zilch, nada, NONE - then how can an app be a duplicate? Again, the question is if there are NO Simple Note apps in the store - zero, zilch, nada, NONE, how can an app be a DUPLICATE? Duplication, by definition, requires MORE than one. Again, in the above scenario, there are zero, zilch, nada, NONE. So how could an app be considered a duplicate when there is not another app?
24. We remained puzzled by your definition of 'duplicates', which our apps clearly are NOT. We further do not see how any reasonable interpretation of your 4.3 guideline could apply to entirely different apps that have been removed...
Don't create multiple Bundle IDs of THE SAME APP...>> (your guidelines, emphasis added)
Are you actually stating that if a developer removes [an] app, they can NOT replace it with a similar app that could ONLY be used for an entirely DIFFERENT use? How can that possibly be a violation of 4.3...?
Don't create multiple Bundle IDs of THE SAME APP...>> (your guidelines, emphasis added)
Furthermore, how is it that other developers are allowed to replace their apps with other 'similar' apps, but we are not?
25. As we have said repeatedly, we need direct answers to our specific questions. Why do you persist - over and over and over again - in the failure to answer our actual questions?
26. Do you actually consider your repeatedly telling us that you "do not have any further information to share with [us] at this time" to be an answer to direct questions - especially ones where we asked you for a 'yes' or 'no' response?
27. Do you actually consider saying you are answering questions (even if no answer is ever provided) to be equivalent to actually answering questions?
28. Does Apple policy condone evading & ignoring developers' legitimate questions about their rejected apps? Does Apple policy dictate systematically repeating the same, unrelated/generic thing all the time, over and over again, in response to reasonable questions posed to it by developers, especially after making the developer wait for days or weeks at a time for aforesaid responses? Do such tardy & generic responses constitute 'good faith' answers to developers' legitimate questions?
29. You seem to be admitting that Apple will not actually provide direct answers to our specific questions by your comment (warning?) that on a phone call we "can expect the same details to be provided". Is that what you are admitting? That you (someone at Apple) will just repeat the same information that has been parroted for months now instead of answering directly our specific questions? So what would be the point? Is that really what you mean to be saying or have we misunderstood you?
30. Is it standard Apple practice to remove comment boxes in the resolution center so that developers are prohibited from submitting questions/feedback concerning their rejected apps? This has happened to us on two separate occasions, for two separate apps. Considering that your own site says that "While your app is in the Rejected state, you can view app rejection details and ask for clarification directly in the Resolution Center", why have we been denied this right twice (and are still being denied this right for both apps)? Do you think that is acceptable treatment of developers? Doesn't Apple's ('clearly intentional') removal of the comment box break your own policy which is supposed to allow us to "ask for clarification directly in the Resolution Center? Do you see any irony in breaking your actual, written rules while you claim our apps are the ones breaking your rules (even though our apps do not)?
31. We have asked for a supervisor multiple times for direct answers to our specific questions. Are you refusing this request? (Even this simple, often repeated question goes unanswered!)
And as we said previously...
<<Since we pay Apple each year to be a developer and since we are forced to submit to your app approval process and cannot submit our iOS apps anywhere else, it seems only fair that you should provide answers to our specific questions concerning your failure to approve apps that you yourselves have admitted meet your written guidelines. How could that be unreasonable? >>
Kindly include the question number above in your response to each question. Thank you.
Note: For more detail concerning these issues, try here.
Although we cannot continue to provide individual iOS technical support, we wanted to share some past tech support related information that may prove useful. All use of this information is at your own risk.
First, if you need technical support, please try the app's help for troubleshooting and other information. [Note: Should the app's help mention uninstalling and reinstalling the app, first be certain the app can be reinstalled after we leave the App Store - which may *not* be possible.]
Second, it may be useful to consider any applicable item(s) below (again, proceed with the following at your own risk)... [Note: Be sure to first keep a secure copy of your data outside the app, as applicable.]
* Consider closing all other open apps.
* Consider closing down (completely exiting/unloading) and reopening the app.
* Consider turning the device off & back on.
* Pay careful attention to messages on screen, if any.
* Be careful to tap the correct button(s) and to tap them only once (unless a double-tap is required).
* Try when offline AND online (including ALL connection types - WiFi, cell, Bluetooth ®, etc. - and combinations of connection types). Especially try with all such items OFF. Try in 'Airplane Mode'.
* Consider trying again at a later time (e.g. in case some conflicting or system process is in effect).
* Consider checking/adjusting applicable settings, including any applicable system settings.
* Verify that the device has sufficient storage space available.
* Try the app on another device (if you have one) to see if it behaves the same way (e.g. to see if the issue is device-specific).
* Try without system provided accessibility options (as applicable). [Note: We recognize that these accessibility options may be important, but to narrow the problem down it may be helpful to try turning them off (if appropriate) during troubleshooting.]
* Try with NOTHING connected to the device (including NO plugged in items, NO Bluetooth ® connected items, etc.).
* If the app worked properly before, but no longer works properly, consider what changes have been made to the device in the intervening period (e.g. to system settings, to app settings, operating system changes/updates, display/font changes, changes to accessibility features, changes to background processes, changes to available storage, changes via File Sharing, etc.). Can/should any changes be reversed/suspended?
* Consider restoring the app's default settings, as applicable.
Third, please note that since "almost invariably" iOS tech support requests we've received concern audio in the iStations app, we'll include some additional information below that we hope may be of assistance (again, use the following at your own risk)...
* If the audio does not play, is it possible that you are pressing the audio button two times in a row? (It acts like a toggle button, so one press would turn the audio on, the next would turn the audio off.)
* Have you checked that the volume is up on your device and that the device is not on silent mode?
* Does the issue affect just one station or all stations? (To test, access the individual stations from the main screen - do NOT use the previous/next buttons.)
* Have you verified that audio works on other apps? (This is not full-proof - e.g. in the event different file types, speakers, etc. are used.)
* Have you closed down all other apps?
* Have you tried powering off/on the device?
* Have you tried the audio with & without earphones/earbuds? (It may be useful to try the audio with earbuds even if you do *not* normally use earbuds in order to try to narrow down the problem.)
* Have you tried with Bluetooth both on and off?
* Have you tried with airplane mode both on and off?
* Have you tried the app on other devices (if you have any) to confirm whether the issue is device specific or app specific?
Finally, please note that past tech support experience demonstrates that a device may indicate that audio has played even though a user cannot hear any sound from the device. This might occur for a variety of reasons [e.g. sound is muted/device is on silent mode, device is paired with an inaccessible Bluetooth device, loose connectors, phone is 'stuck' in headphone mode (e.g. due to dust blocking the port)]. To see whether or not the device indicates that audio has played (even if nothing is heard), see if the app advances to the next station on its own, when automatic navigation is on. For example, open the iStations app, press the 'Intro.' button, verify that the 'Auto' indicator appears (e.g. in small gray text near the top center of the screen), press 'Audio' (once ONLY), then wait for a few minutes. Afterwards, confirm whether or not the display changed to read "First Station" at the top (the image & text should also change). If so, the device indicates that audio has played (even if nothing was heard). Again, the reasons sound may not be heard (even if the device reports playing audio) are varied - e.g. sound is muted/device is on silent mode, device is paired with an inaccessible Bluetooth device, loose connectors, phone is 'stuck' in headphone mode (e.g. due to dust blocking the port). Until that issue is resolved, it may not be possible to hear audio.
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