Apple Is Purging The App Store of Wi-Fi Stumblers?

Apple Is Purging The App Store of Wi-Fi Stumblers?

The WiFi-Where App in action (before Apple removed it from the App Store).

Having purged the App Store of porn, it looks as though Apple is now clearing the App Store of Wi-Fi finders.

On Wednesday, it appears that Apple removed several popular Wi-Fi stumbers from the App Store, including WiFi-Where, WiFiFoFum and yFy Network Finder.

Apple sent a note to the developer of WiFi-Where on Wednesday saying their app has been removed because it uses “a private framework to access wifi information.”

What this private framework is, neither Apple nor the developer explain.

I’ve put in a query to Apple’s PR department, and the WiFi-Where developer couldn’t be immediately reached.

The WiFiWhere app features a scan mode that finds all the nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. According to the developer: “WiFi-Where uses both the location capabilities (GPS and cellular triangulation) of the iPhone platform as well as the built in 802.11 radio to let you find any and all hotspots wherever you go.”

It’s not clear from this description what the private framework may be. In addition to finding hotspots, the app allows users to upload scan results to the popular Wigle.net online database.

WiFi-Where is no longer available on the App Store, and neither is WiFiFoFum and yFy.

WiFiFoFum is one of the oldest Wi-Fi Finders for the iPhone. It has been available since September 2008.

Not all the Wi-Fi finding apps have been removed however. There are still a couple of Wi-Fi finders, including JiWire’s Free Wi-Fi Finder and WiFi Directory.

UPDATE: Perhaps the private framework is the iPhone’s built-in 802.11 radio? The remaining Wi-Fi finders in the App Store aren’t stumblers, but lists of free hotspots that are found using the iPhone’s GPS or network triangulation capabilities.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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