Apple threatened to pull Amphetamine macOS app over branding


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The developer behind the macOS app Amphetamine was warned by Apple that the app was going to be purged from Mac App Store for violating one of the App Store Guidelines due to its name — but Apple reversed its course after the developer appealed the matter.

Dating back to 2014, Amphetamine is an app that is used to keep a Mac awake, preventing macOS from going to sleep. So far, it has been offered on the Mac App Store for six years, but it seems that Apple itself may be preparing to remove it from view entirely, due to its branding.

Posted on Friday to Github, William Gustafson claims an Apple representative got in contact on December 29th, with the threat of removing the app from the Mac App Store. Apple deemed the app was in violation of its App Store Guideline, and it would be delisted on January 12 unless changes were made to the app.

The guideline at issue is 1.4.3, stating “Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco or vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn’t allowed.”

Specifically, Apple claims the app “appears to promote inappropriate use of controlled substances. Specifically your app name and icon include references to controlled substances, pills.”

To avoid being in violation, Gustafson would have to effectively rebrand Amphetamine completely, an action that would make it harder for existing users to keep track of the app for future updates. It would also eliminate any benefits from its existing brand awareness, as that would not carry over to the new app’s title.

The timing of the demand for a rebrand is curious, as the app has been in the Mac App Store without issue for six years, and has achieved over 432,800 downloads and a 4.8 out of 5 rating in the US Mac App Store from over 1,400 reviews. Apple itself has even promoted the app in a Mac App Store Story.

Gustafson believes Amphetamine is not in violation of the guidelines. “It is also my belief that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way as me,…