Apple will keep the Amphetamine app in its store after dispute with developer over whether it promoted drug use

Apple will keep the Amphetamine app in its store after dispute with developer over whether it promoted drug use
Apple CEO Tim Cook.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Apple will allow Amphetamine, an app that keeps Mac computers awake, to remain on its App Store, after a dispute with its developer over whether it promoted drug use.
  • Developer William Gustafson said Apple reversed its decision after a phone call between the two parties.
  • "On that call, an Apple representative stated that Apple now recognizes that the word 'amphetamine' and the pill icon are being used 'metaphorically', and in a 'medical sense,'" wrote developer William Gustafson on Github.

Apple will allow Amphetamine, an app that keeps Mac computers awake, to remain on its App Store, after a dispute with its developer over whether it promoted drug use.

On a call on Saturday between William Gustafson, the developer, and Apple, a company representative said the six-year-old app could remain.

"On that call, an Apple representative stated that Apple now recognizes that the word 'amphetamine' and the pill icon are being used 'metaphorically', and in a 'medical sense,'" wrote Gustafson on Github.
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The back-and-forth began on December 29, when Gustafson said he was notified that his his free app had violated Apple policy. The app is described as a "powerful keep-awake utility." Its icon includes a computer screen and a cartoonish yellow pill.

Gustafson quoted Apple as saying Amphetamine "appears to promote inappropriate use of controlled substances. Specifically, your app name and icon include references to controlled substances, pills."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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In a lengthy defense posted on Github, Gustafson argued that the word "amphetamine" doesn't always reference illegal drugs. In the US, Adderall and other prescription drugs fall under the category.

Gustafson was told Amphetamine would be removed on January 12, unless it was updated with new branding. "It is my belief that Amphetamine is not in violation of any of Apple's Guidelines. It is also my belief that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way as me, and want to see Amphetamine.app continue to flourish without a complete re-branding," Gustafson wrote.
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Other figures in the tech world came to Gustafson's defense. Danish coder David Heinemeier Hansson, founder and CTO at Basecamp & HEY, pointed out on Twitter that Apple had made "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" an Editor's Choice app. He called the move to remove Amphetamine "capricious enforcement."

Hashtag inventor and product designer Chris Messina said: "Slowly tech companies are replacing democratic determination of acceptable content/speech by sheer virtue of their gatekeeping position in the information market."

Gustafson appealed Apple's decision, and the company reversed its stance, he said.
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