4 apps that Apple banned only to “steal” their features with the next iOS update

Apple is huge, there’s no denying that. The company has made a name for itself by selling premium-design products that have a simple workflow and “just work”. Of course, to achieve that, its devices are a bit more “limited” in terms of tinkering and customizability. The ecosystem is closed off and if you don’t like how a certain feature works — it’s tough luck, you probably won’t be able to dig behind the scenes and change it (unless you feel adventurous and jailbreak).

But, over the years, some crafty app developers have found their way around some locked doors and presented us with features, which weren’t exactly intended to be on iOS. Sometimes, it turns out that these are widely liked by a lot of users, and they gain popularity quickly. And then, in comes Apple to ban them, because they mess with the user experience, which the company has carefully crafted. But controversy stirs when the next iOS update actually has the very features, which the banned apps provided for the users.

Yeah, we can remember 4 such occasions. Here they are:

Camera+ and the VolumeSnap feature

Back in the distant days of the iPhone 4, the volume button did not double as a shutter key for the camera app, believe it or not. Developer “tap tap tap” was first to add the feature to its well-known app Camera+ back then. However, that quickly resulted in the app being pulled from the App Store. Apple said that changing the way the iPhone’s external hardware works may confuse users. Makes sense, sure, and it does sound like a very Apple thing to say. However, once the iPhone 4s launched, and iOS 5 with it, the volume button shutter was actually added as a regular feature!

All is fine now, however, as tap tap tap’s Camera+ has been reinstated on the App Store and is one of the most popular 3rd party camera apps to date.

Download Camera+ here

f.lux and Night Shift

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the rise of the “blue light filters”. Utility tools, which filter out the blue light coming from our screens, which research shows is a primary reason for low-quality sleep. These usually kick in after sunset to ease the strain on our eyes.

Sounds familiar, right? The iPhone has it, the Samsung Galaxies have it, LG and Motorola have it, and a lot more manufacturers do it now. Arguably, the trend really kicked off with the f.lux controversy.

f.lux was already popular on Windows and Mac when the developers decided to port it for iOS. Now, due to the fact that the app needs special APIs to control the screen colors, it was never going to make it on the App Store. That’s why the developers released it as a downloadable file for sideloading. It gained popularity quickly, but Apple was fast to axe it, contacting the developers and “asking” them to remove the download link.

Lo and behold, when iOS 9.3 landed, iPhones and iPads got a feature called “Night Shift” — a blue light filter, just like f.lux. After this controversy raised awareness about the benefits of the feature, other manufacturers followed suit and added it to their new phones, so we guess the outcome is positive for the users?

Finder for AirPods

When the iPhone 7 launched without a headphone jack and the AirPods were announced, everyone started making jokes about how Apple is forcing consumers to buy earbuds that will be easily lost and would need replacing regularly. We’re not sure about them falling off our ears just like that, but sure — it’s possible that you can bury an AirPod under a stack of papers on your desk.

A crafty developer launched Finder for AirPods — an app that allowed you to locate your lost Pod thanks to a signal bar, which showed you how close you are to it. However, it was very quickly pulled by Apple, who stated that the “App is not appropriate for the App Store”.

Two weeks after the ordeal, Apple launched the first public beta for iOS 10.3. Yep, you guessed it right, the Find my iPhone app now has an integrated AirPod tracker as well.

Coolpixel and screen recording

Coolpixel launched back in December of 2016. It’s a camera recorder and video editor, which also is somehow capable of recording your phone’s screen. That’s a pretty big feat, as screen recording on the iPhone or iPad is only possible if you hook the device up to a Mac right now.

With native screen recording coming with iOS 11, you can probably already guess what Coolpixel’s fate is. The app has been removed from the App Store once. Then, the tenacious developer managed to upload it again. Then, it was taken down again.

So, yeah, unless you have the iOS 11 public beta, you’ll need to wait for it to launch before you can record your iPhone or iPad screen. Sorry.

Note: turns out there are quite a few screen recording apps for iOS out there. All of them keep getting booted from the App Store, though

Can you think of any other occasions where Apple banned an app, only to incorporate its features afterwards? Let us know in the comments!



1. foreverNOOB

Posts: 163; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

I'm wondering that Apple pay these dev or just banned them and stolen their work...

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31066; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Probably banned them, and stole their work. Apple is as corrupt as any other big greedy for profit company. They're all about the money, however they can get it.

36. Flash

Posts: 1972; Member since: May 19, 2017

Samsung is corrupt as well, but we won't hear you say that.

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31066; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

This is a tech site, you won't hear me say anything...you'll read it. Yes, Samsung is greedy too, but it's largely Apple with corrupt practices, but they give you way more for your money than Apple. Samsung also isn't nearly as bad as Appple, in its business dealings. Holla.

44. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

He just said "any other big company." He's not a shill, like you.

18. Bankz

Posts: 2548; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Apple are so shameless tbh. Of all juicy apps and features to have copied from? Lmao, to think they were actually smart thieves..

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 31066; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Most of the copied features are from Android and Samsung's TouchWiz, smart move too. Jacking those features made the iPhone quite a bit better, but more is needed.

5. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

But done by Apple perfectly and without lags.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31066; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Those dumb lag posts have no effect on me troll. I owned em both, I know which is better. I sold the one that isn't, and I'm typing this from my S8 Plus.

11. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

I don't see any of your humour.

12. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Perfect excuse for stealing ideas.

13. Rishi17

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 22, 2016

Wakeup iSheep, it ain't 2012 anymore, lag doesn't exist & don't even get me started on productivity.

17. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"lag doesn't exist & don't even get me started on" Slow your roll. Lag definitely still exists. Both platforms have lag still, the difference is iOS does it less often.

21. Rishi17

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 22, 2016

Try to spend a few extra dollars next time & buy a proper flagship, otherwise lag will continue to exist for you.

34. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Not really concern about the little lag as long as I could complete the task and still keep my sanity. In 2017, most smartphone could do that. Just put in a preorder for umidigi crystal. http://www.umidigi.com/page-umidigi_crystal_overview.html

45. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not significantly less, but while doing less.

28. sissy246

Posts: 7117; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMFAO ALL PHONES WILL LAG.... yes some more then other.

15. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Can't remember last I experienced lag with a Samsung phone.

30. sissy246

Posts: 7117; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I will give it to Samsung, since the s6 it has gotten way better. S8+ i have very seldom lags but, they still do just like all phones do. So stop trying to say they don't at all, you are just lying like the isheep (not fans) do when they say iPhones don't lag.

39. AmashAziz

Posts: 2930; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Many of those who say iPhones don't lag are probably more unknowledgeable than they are liars.

46. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not if they say it doesn't lag.

20. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

Also with worse display, worse battery, worse camera, no SD card slot, more expensive and still behind Touchiwzz and others in features. But hey at least it doesn't lag LOL

40. AmashAziz

Posts: 2930; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

That non-OLED display is still very accurate in certain metrics, and still excellent, as per DisplayMate (and my own opinion). Camera picture quality is subjective, and battery life depends on usage. As for the other 3 things, they might not matter to the user more than the sustained performance and/or 'percieved' security. Or some additional features which the iPhone has/provides but many Android phones don't. Such as the clean and simple experience on iOS, 5 years of software support, with 4 years of number updates to iOS. And the supposed 3 seconds faster loading speeds, along with that infamous Apple logo! So the point is, everyone doesn't want those boatload of features that TouchWiz provides, along with some bloatware. But those who do, they can buy a Galaxy; no issue with me. If you understand what I'm trying to say.

47. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It is a very good display, just not as good.

51. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Not as good as the one in S8 but overall better than the one in S7.

54. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009


57. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

That's it; I was just pointing out the fact that iPhone had one of the best displays (maybe the best) up until S8 came out.

60. AmashAziz

Posts: 2930; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

True that.

23. path45th

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

A lot of Android features are from the Jailbreak community.

24. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1324; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

How do you jailbreak an Android?

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