Apple has informed Mac developers that the deadline for sandboxing apps has been extended to June 1st. The date was postponed last November and set to take place on March 1st. Apple has been working on technical specifications for third-party developers since.
For those that are unfamiliar, “sandboxing” is essentially confining an app’s system access to its specific functions or entitlements, thereby hindering the possibility of an app behaving maliciously on a system level. Developers now have more time to appropriately implement sandboxing into their apps for the Mac App Store.
Apple notes that, starting June 1st, existing Mac App Store apps that haven’t been sandboxed may still be updated with bug fixes. All new app submissions must be sandboxed, and developers are encouraged to take advantage of the new entitlements available on OS X 10.7.3 and the new APIs in Xcode 4.3.
While sandboxing does provide great security advantages, apps that integrate deeply with OS X could be hindered by Apple’s new limitations. OS X Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper feature is another example of the curated philosophy that Apple is imposing on the Mac. Hopefully third-party developers will continue to offer robust applications while maintaining the level of security Apple is enforcing.