'System and Security Info's' App Store Rejection is No Surprise

System and Security Info from Stefan Esser launched on the iPhone only a few days ago and has already been booted off the App Store. The app checked which processes were running on users' iPhones, then reported back with details about which apps were running, and whether or not any could be unwanted or malware. The internet quickly jumped to the conclusion that Apple was blocking apps that could detect device-level spying, but the reality is far less insidious: System and Security info violated Apple's developer guidelines and was rejected.

Apple isn't anti-spy detection, it's anti-developer guideline violationApple isn't anti-spy detection, it's anti-developer guideline violation

Mr. Esser said his app was rejected for providing "potentially inaccurate and diagnostic functionality," which sounds rather ominous. He said on Twitter this was Apple's way of shielding users from knowing iOS could potentially have security holes.

He went on to say his app was "a system info tool showing a process list and jailbreak status/like other apps," which clears up a lot. Apple removed the ability for apps to show a list of running processes in iOS 9. Any app that shows an active processes list is either running on an older version of iOS, or the developer worked around iOS 9's built-in restrictions.

Mr. Esser went on to say, "The fact our app was pulled is selective punishment." What he really experienced, however, was the same thing so many developers before him encountered: Apple let an app onto the App Store only later to pull it after realizing it violated developer guidelines. The real problem isn't selective punishment; it's an inconsistent and confusing app screening process.

The Mac Observer checked several titles on the App Store claiming to offer a running processes list, and they all failed to do so on iOS 9. In some cases, the apps listed 0 processes, in other cases the apps said the list wasn't available in iOS 9.

Losing the running processes list was unfortunate because it came in handy when troubleshooting odd iOS issues and checking to make sure there weren't any unexpected apps running—just as Mr. Esser's now MIA System and Security Info app did. The real question is whether or not the active processes list is something users should be able to see—and for now it seems Apple's answer to that is a resounding "no."

[Thanks to The Next Web for the heads up]