An entrepreneur claimed that Apple killed her app time-tracker as it prepared to launch Screen Time. Luba Vyaznikova said her app, Sense, was removed from the App Store in early September 2018, a week Screen Time became available to users.
Screen Time Arrives, Sense Dies
Ms. Vyaznikova explained the painstaking process of developing and launching her product in a blog post. This included running a VPN in order to monitor users’ time on social media – the main point of the app. However, the work paid off and Sense launched in the App Store in December 2016. Ms. Vyaznikova said it was downloaded over 400,000 in total during the time it was available. “A month before being removed from the App Store, the app raked in $45,000 in revenue. This means the product was operating at a $500,000 annual runrate,” she added.
Apple unveiled Screen Time with iOS 12 in June 2018. Ms. Vyaznikova said that “Apple became very hostile towards us and other similar apps” after it revealed the feature.
First, the App Store team became slower and slower in reviewing our app updates. It often took a month and sometimes even two.. Then we started getting rejections on app updates for odd reasons, and the reasons changed each time we appealed to the Apple review team. In the end, Apple stated that we were not using our VPN for its intended purpose. But we never understood how they could define the purpose of a technology they didn’t even create in the first place.
Sense was removed from the App Store in early September 2018. Apple rolled out iOS 12 to users on September 17, 2018.