Apple Starts Banning iOS Apps That Feature Dropbox Integration


Dropbox promises it is already working with Apple to rectify the issue.

Even with iCloud now up and running, Dropbox is still one of the best ways to sync documents between your Mac and iOS devices. It’s so great that all kinds of iOS apps — task managers, word processors, and even games — use Dropbox to send your data to the cloud so that you can access it on any of your devices.

However, Apple just turned up to the party swinging its banhammer. The Cupertino company has begun rejecting certain iOS apps that use the Dropbox SDK simply because they link to the Dropbox website.

Confused? Well, as we all know, Apple doesn’t like it when iOS apps circumvent its ecosystem and allow users to purchase additional content without going through iTunes. It’s been a big issue, particularly for subscription services who now need to throw Apple 30% of their revenues or force customers to make their purchases through a web browser.

The problem with some apps using the Dropbox SDK is that when a user doesn’t have the official Dropbox app installed, they link directly to the Dropbox website. Here, users can upgrade their Dropbox storage without giving Apple its cut, which isn’t allowed.

Developers have been taking to the Dropbox forums to report that their apps have now been rejected. One posted the company’s message, which reads:

We found that your app provides access to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

Specifically, your app enables to user to create accounts with Dropbox and Google.

One developer received a more detailed response after probing Apple:

The good news is, Dropbox has confirmed that it is working with Apple to rectify the problem. In a statement to AppleInsider, the company said:

Apple is rejecting apps that use the Dropbox SDK because we allow users to create accounts. We’re working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience.

Of course, it’s unlikely Apple is going to backdown and change its rules (especially not this one, which has been hated by developers for some time). So it’ll probably be up to Dropbox to fix it. The company has already posted a temporary fix, asking developers to use another version of its SDK which removes the “create account” issue. And it’s hoping to have a more suitable fix in place during the next week.

[via The Next Web]

  • Brandon Dillon

    This should be the one exception to the rule. I see both sides of the coin in this instance, though.

  • Chris Martin

    @ Brandon, I see both sides to this too but i would have to disagree. they shouldnt bend the rules for anyone since it would not be fair to other developers. I can see why they stick to their rules. some people might think this is because of competition to icloud but i can understand they are trying to protect from things like phishing sites or scams..

  • Matthew Sweet

    @Chris, the notion of protecting users from phishing sites or scams is plausible, but unlikely. It would take banning of iOS Safari before that task were complete. Case in point, an app can link to “trusted” sites, Dropbox being one of them, without being banned. Even if this allows the end-user to purchase products via browser. So then it would merely be a contradiction of Apple saying “We trust these guys, but we don’t trust YOU trusting THEM without US in the middle.” -See my point?

  • Mopcodes

    Hey Sheepeople…this is not good. I think it is time that Apple’s monopoly is broken. They control to much of this and I think that is just wrong. Don’t put up with with kind of crap.

  • MrPeabody

    I’m sorry but this is HS. I may be missing the specific poinit here, but I shuffle lots of virtual paperwork around using nothing but iPods, iPhones, and Macs (no actual paper), including customer signatures, work orders and parts orders. I convert work orders sent via email into PDFs, those PDFs get taken to the job site where notes, signatures and parts are noted on the PDF using an iPod or iPad, those files are flattened and uploaded to the a Dropbox account where they are picked up by the person clerking the paperowk.

    If Apple forces the developers that make the apps I need to accomplish this workflow, I’m screwed. This isn’t idealogical BS, this is business, namely mine.

    iCloud’s cool, and when works for me like DB does then fine, but it ain’t there and I get no sense that iClould has any intention of doing what DB does.

  • bondr006

    This is not in-app purchase we are talking about. Now Apple doesn’t even want an app linking to another site? Apple wants to control where we go on our browser? This is just bullsh*t! Apple wants to wipe out the competition without actually having to be competitive. Develop the godd*mn icloud and make it something people can actually use for more than just cloud storage. How much of this crap does Apple think we are going to take before getting fed up and moving on. They may have the majority market share for tablets, but they don’t have the only tablets. And if they keep this up, they will lose that market share lead also.
    They keep this crap up and I’ll be changing my avatar.

  • Douglas de la Brodoff

    I am really tired of the growing repressive attitude at Apple. ICloud is a joke and completely useless because of Apples insistance on keeping the user BLIND and in the dark about what exactly is stored in the cloud.  All part of Apples new policy to crow about the freedom of the digital life while dumbing down and crippling its operating systems, and seriously limiting user control and preferences. As a longtime and loyal Apple customer, I am sad to say that for the first time I am investigating other options for my future computer purchases.  All their micro-managing of their users is too much for me. I just want to get my work done without constant Apple intrusion

  • technochick

    I’m sorry but this is HS.  

    No what is HS is the headline. Apple isn’t dropping the apps because they have dropbox instead of iCloud etc. they are dropping them, or rather not allowing them, because they violated well known and stated rules about linking to outside sign up/payment sites. those rules have been around and discussed for ages so the developers knew better and did it anyway. and were slapped for it. 

  • ApplePr0n

    Let’s be honest, this is probably more for the sake of iCloud than it is to remove dropbox. I personally have no issue with this, especially since this was a known rule that these app developers were breaking.